BEH Columns – Celebrating 20 Years of Hybrid Technology

BEH Columns – Celebrating 20 Years of Hybrid Technology


[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Tom Walter. I’m a senior director in the
chemistry R&D group, where I’ve been for 32 years, now. We were just coming off the
launch of XTerra Columns. And we were looking at
what we could do next in this area of
hybrid particles. And we became very
intrigued by looking at the structure of the
organic group we were building into the particles. With XTerra, we
had a methyl group built into a siloxane network. But we realized
those groups actually terminated the network. So we were not able
to make particles that were as strong as we wanted to. When we incorporated a
bridged ethyl group that now bridged across
two silicon atoms, now we could get particles that were
very, very stable mechanically. And these very rugged,
mechanically stable particles that we called BEH really
enabled the development of ultra-performance
liquid chromatography, which is a whole new level of
performance in the HPLC world. And these particles
enabled us to pack columns that could withstand these
much higher pressures, much harsher conditions. The most distinguishing
characteristics of the BEH particles,
as compared to XTerra, is, again, their
ruggedness– their ability to withstand not only
higher pressures, but also a wider range of pH. So the ability to withstand
high pH mobile phases is an order of magnitude
better than it is for XTerra. High pH is important
in chromatography because there are a lot
of types of analytes that prefer to be
separated at higher pH because they’re not
stable at a lower pH. Or because of their
ionization characteristics, they just give better
separations at higher pH. There are a lot
of other materials that chromatographers have used
for doing high pH separations. There are materials
like zirconia– even carbon. The challenge with
those kind of materials is the surface chemistry
is very different. So a chromatographer
who has already tried to use C18
silica columns, and now they grab one of these zirconia
or carbon-based columns, it’s a much bigger challenge
to optimize the separation. They have to learn all the
rules about how to optimize with these different materials. The beauty of BEH is it’s very
similar to silica chemically. So somebody who’s familiar with
using a silica-based column can very easily
swap in a BEH column and get good performance
right from the beginning. One important direction after
we completed the development of the BEH columns was to look
at how do charge compounds behave, particularly under mass
spec-compatible mobile phase conditions? Things like formic acid
in the mobile phase becomes very popular when
you’re using mass spectrometry detection. And for basic compounds in
particular, BEH columns, when used with
those mobile phases, they leave some room
for improvements. So we were very
focused on how could we improve that
performance, particularly for basic compounds,
with formic acid. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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