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Techniques & Tools Liquid Chromatography

Greening Analysis with SFC

Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) was first applied in 1962 using exotic supercritical fluids for a very specific application. Back then it was certainly not green; it used fluoro-chlorinated organic solvents that are now banned because of their negative impact on the atmospheric ozone layer.

Today, the great majority of SFC applications use carbon dioxide (CO2) as the supercritical fluid and most users implicitly mean SFC with CO2 when they refer to the technique. There is also a debate about the correctness of the term SFC, as – in practice – conditions are probably often subcritical rather than supercritical (see Tea With Pat Sandra: tas.txp.to/0415/patsandra); however, this debate does not affect the green aspects of the technique.

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About the Author

Eric Francotte

“After completing a PhD in organic chemistry in Belgium, and two years postdoc at the Geneva University, I joined the central research laboratories of a large pharmaceutical company at a time where chirality was still a neglected matter in drug research and development.” Motivated by this statement, Eric Francotte developed innovative chiral stationary phases which have become the most used ones for the chromatographic separation of stereoisomers. They are applied worldwide in numerous laboratories in the industry and academia. “This is a great source of satisfaction as the technique considerably facilitates the analysis and production of chiral drugs with safer pharmacological profiles,” he says. Stimulated by the same motivation of developing safer tools Eric was also, already more than 25 years ago, a pioneer in exploring the utilization of SFC for chiral separations. “I am happy to see that SFC has now reached a high degree of acceptance and that its application range is expanding every day.”

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