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Dr Norman Smith

Research interests

Dr Smith group's main area of research is focused on micro separations. The techniques which are used are gradient micro High Performance Liquid Chromatography μ-HPLC), Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) and Capillary ElectroChromatography (CEC).

Because of the resurgence of interest in SFC the group is now revisiting this technique particularly in the area of chiral separations where SFC has been shown to be particularly powerful.Main interest includes the manufacture of chiral monoliths which it has been anticipated to be an extremely important development in this area.

All of these are high efficiency separation techniques, which are ideally suited to coupling to the Mass Spectrometer, and the group has a Sciex API 150 and Perceptive Biosystems Time of Flight instruments, as well as a Waters Acquity-MS system.

Research is centred on the production of highly selective systems that are capable of separating a wide variety of analytes particularly basic pharmaceutical compounds, and proteins and peptides.

Another important research area is the separation of chiral pharmaceutical compounds and this has been investigated using both CEC and m-HPLC using a range of novel stationary phases. Pressure assisted CEC (p-CEC) is an important variation of HPLC where the application of an electric field to an HPLC separation can have a considerable effect on the selectivity of a separation, and this technique has been investigated as a potential highly selective separation mode.

Future research is focused on the viability of using novel monolithic and continuous bed supports coupled to the Mass Spectrometer. An additional area of research is the use of very high pressures (~20,000 p.s.i.) to perform gradient m-HPLC with very long capillaries ³ 1m in length containing 3 mm diameter stationary phases or monolithic materials. This gives rise to the possibility of performing very high efficiency separations of complex mixtures using in excess of 100,000 theoretical plates. Current work has shown remarkable selectivity for very complex peptide digests and coupling of these high-resolution systems to the mass spec. in the area of proteomic research is now being undertaken. The eventual use of monolithic phases under these conditions should allow for ultra fast separations with moderate efficiency.

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