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Bridging HPLC and UPLC
Industry Insight

Bridging HPLC and UPLC

Bridging HPLC and UPLC
Industry Insight

Bridging HPLC and UPLC


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Last week saw Waters introduce a new addition to the ACQUITY product line, the ACQUITY® Arc™ System. Specifically engineered to respond to the needs of analytical scientists for a single LC platform, the system enables them to efficiently transfer, adjust or improve their methods regardless of the LC platform on which they were developed. 

Waters tells us, "The technology is adaptable and robust enough to bridge the HPLC and UPLC performance gap while continuing to support validated assays.”

To learn more about this exciting development and the benefits it provides researchers, we spoke to Eric Grumbach, Manager, Workflow Integration, Separations Technologies, Waters Corporation.

AB: Why do Waters® feel that bridging the gap between HPLC and UHPLC is necessary and what will this mean for the future of liquid chromatography?

Eric Grumbach (EG): As with any product introduction from Waters, the development of our Technologies are a direct response to the evolution in our customers' needs. The introduction of the ACQUITY Arc System follows this theme as well.

When Waters introduced UPLC Technology in 2004, we purposefully created a large leap in performance to demonstrate the significant business and scientific advantages of adopting an ultra low dispersion instrument with sub -2-micron column technology in comparison to HPLC platforms available at the time. Although UPLC has been an exceptional success with over 50% of laboratories utilizing some form of higher performance instrumentation, we have found that some organizations, for a number of reasons, cannot always adopt UPLC Technology. This is particularly true for routine analysis laboratories which continue to support a number of established HPLC methods. It is for these laboratories that the ACQUITY Arc System is targeted.

AB: Which UHPLC features will the ACQUITY® ArcTM system add that distinguishes it from HPLC systems?

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EG: The most differentiated feature of the ACQUITY Arc UHPLC System is the Arc Multi-flow path technology. This is a novel design that enables users to select between UHPLC mode and HPLC emulation mode with a simple selection within the software. This purposeful hardware design is intended to lower the barriers for routine analysis laboratories that may want to adopt a more modern LC platform while still providing the ability to continue to support their established HPLC methods. This unique feature allows users to replicate their established HPLC methods, improve their productivity by pairing the system with a 2.5 micron column, or accept UPLC methods that have been scaled to larger particle sizes.

A second novel feature of the ACQUITY Arc System is a software enhancement called AutoBlend Plus. This feature allows the user to program gradients directly in terms of pH and % organic. The benefit of this approach is to minimize human labor and potential error of manually creating a number of different buffered solutions and instead, enabling the on-demand pH creation to be facilitated by the LC System itself. This is useful for method development, method validation and method robustness testing.

AB: The ACQUITY Arc system is fully compatible with Waters’ mass detector, the ACQUITY QDa®. How will customers benefit from the use of both products?

EG: The ACQUITY QDa Detector is the start of a new era in both separations science and analytical scientist independence. Adding mass detection to your existing workflow significantly improves the characterization of your samples, answering questions even before they are asked. Analytical chemists can improve the information received from their samples with the added confidence of mass detection, for more value from every analysis and more productivity from every day.

In short, those laboratories adopting the ACQUITY Arc System with ACQUITY QDa Mass Detection all have the ability to create more meaningful information from every injection for more confident decisions faster - accelerating projects for faster to market while reducing costs and better utilising resources.

AB: What are some of the key applications the ACQUITY® ArcTM system is focused towards?

EG: The ACQUITY Arc System is targeted at the last remaining stronghold of conventional HPLC, the routine analysis laboratory. This system, empowered by Arc Multi-flow path technology, supports established HPLC methods by emulating older HPLC systems, and by simply switching to UHPLC mode, also provides the path forward to improve productivity when pairing the system with 2.5 micron UHPLC column technology.

We see this system being an ideal fit for QA/QC, late stage development or even CRO's that need to consolidate platforms and accommodate different technologies required by their sponsors.

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Eric was speaking to Ashley Board, Managing Editor for Technology Networks
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