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Reimagining UHPLC

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2014
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To learn more about the new Vanquish UHPLC system from Thermo Fisher Scientific we spoke to Wulff Niedner, Director of HPLC Product Marketing.

This week saw Thermo Fisher Scientific unveil Vanquish UHPLC, a new high performance liquid chromatography system designed from the ground up. 

Providing new levels of performance, productivity and usability, Thermo Fisher tell us that Vanquish system combines advantages in separations performance, sample throughput, ease-of-use, reproducibility and method transfer efficiency.  

Eager to learn more about this new system we spoke to Wulff Niedner, Director HPLC Product Marketing at Thermo Fisher. 

AB: The Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ UHPLC system has been designed from the ground up - was there a feeling that your older systems had gone as far they could?

Wulff Niedner (WN): The existing platform of Thermo Scientific™ UltiMate 3000™ UHPLC systems is very successful and gives chromatographers tremendous capabilities, and they keep performing cutting edge research. But a significant number of customers were seeking additional capabilities. The Vanquish system was designed to set a new benchmark in the industry in a number of ways. Only this completely new industrial design enabled us to effectively host all the innovations we have made for the Vanquish system without compromises. 

AB: How does the performance compare to current systems on the market?

WN: The Vanquish system has been built to be the state-of-the-art UHPLC system allowing users to do more than they could do before. Therefore it has a pressure capability of 1500 bar over the full flow range up to 5 ml/min, which is beyond anything available. The standard sample capacity is twice the industry average with 4 sample racks or well plates, and with the optional Charger module sample capacity can be increased to up to 8832 samples (using 384 well plates). The column compartment offers two thermostatting modes to enable our users to get the maximum resolution from their separation and also give them the ability to perform efficient method transfer when required. The DAD detector, with its new LightPipeTM technology, allows for ultrahigh sensitivity and trace level detection and has a linearity up to 3000 mAU routinely. The system is biocompatible by default, has proprietary technology to ensure robust operation at the benchmark pressure of 1500 bar, and offers integrated modularity; it is not a collection of modules, but appears as an integrated system with modern design, without limiting the flexibility chromatographers need to perform their daily work.

AB: The system is built around the column, is this a new approach for Thermo Fisher, and what benefits does this provide?

WN: In developing the Vanquish system the central paradigm was to provide the users with the best chromatography possible. Excellent chromatography is only achieved when dispersion is minimized and for state-of-the-art UHPLC this is essential. Therefore the column was taken as the central component and the Vanquish system was designed around it. The modular integration gives a clear advantage here over a solely modular approach. Next to that, eliminating accidental void volumes and dispersion effects by a thorough selection of appropriate tubing material and our unique Viper fingertight fitting technology for virtual zero-dead-volume connections even at 1500 bar are additional cornerstones to translate the excellent separation performance of our new Thermo Scientific™ Accucore™ Vanquish C18 UHPLC columns into superb chromatograms. 

AB: How does the system integrate with Thermo Scientific products such as automation and software?

WN: The Vanquish system works perfectly as a standalone system with DAD detection, but also has specific features to accommodate the need to do LC/MS. The column oven can be placed either on the right or on the left side of the system. This ensures the shortest flow path from the UHPLC column to the mass spectrometer is set to minimize dispersion and by that maintain the separation performance in the LC/MS chromatogram.  

The Vanquish system is fully supported by Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ Chromeleon™ 7.2 CDS, which also supports mass spectrometry. This allows single point software control and the ease for the user of learning only one software package. On top of that, the Vanquish system is also seamlessly integrated into our mass spectrometry software packages.

Finally, the Charger module for sample handling is a great example of how automation is integrated in the Vanquish workflow. Being fully supported by the Chromeleon software, our customers can not only build up a sample pipeline that holds and processes more than 8,000 samples, but managing even these huge sample sets is done in a few mouse-clicks thanks to the Operational SimplicityTM feature of our gold-standard Chromatography Data System.

AB: Beyond the advancements in performance you also describe benefits of clean design. Can you tell me more about these and how they were identified?  

WN: “Form follows function” is a very basic but comprehensive principle in architecture and design. We kept this in mind from the beginning when we started to discuss our new generation UHPLC. The result is the completely new industrial design of the Vanquish system providing new levels of performance, productivity and usability without compromising flexibility. One obvious example how design supports functionality are the doors: they open widely to allow perfect access for setting up fluidic connections, but when closed there is a nice clean appearance. Or there are no simple status LED indicators, but LED bars that visualize the relevant information on instrument status. And under the hood, the design story continues: The idea of a lean design is applied also to the inside of the system; flow path fluidics are very straightforward, as are other likeliness for solvent waste lines, and the integrated, self-aligning drainage system. Details like a drawer for consumables and drawer-accessible Vanquish modules make maintenance easy to perform. 

The new overall appearance of the Vanquish system matches also well with our latest generation of Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers.

Chromatographers who are interested to know more about the system are invited to go through a virtual demo or to contact us to see and experience the Vanquish system in one of our demo labs. Both available through our website on

Wulff Niedner was speaking to Ashley Board, Managing Editor for Technology Networks. You can find Ashley on  and follow Technology Networks on Twitter.

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