Landmark Literature

As we launch ourselves into 2017, our expert panel selects and reflects on six standout papers that truly advanced the field of analytical science in 2016.

January 2017

Sensing the Future of Chromatography

By Hans-Gerd Janssen, Science Leader, Unilever Research and Development; and Professor, van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

For me, chromatography is always just a temporary solution. Separation of a sample is not the goal, but the means to answer an important question. For instance: does this pill contain enough of the active pharmaceutical ingredient? Is this food product safe? One day, we will no longer separate mixtures at all, but use a sensor to answer our questions. In fact, the question is no longer if, but rather when sensors will take over from chromatography and mass spectrometry.

A massive number of articles have been published on sensors. Some sensors perform very well but, overall, the performance is inferior to that of chromatography. However, as chromatographers, we should not wait until we are overtaken by sensor scientists. We must use what they already have to improve our methods.