Isotachophoresis (ITP) coupled to capillary zone electrophoresis (CE) in a comprehensive manner was used to separate mixture components in both insufficient and sufficient concentrations without heart-cutting or splitting. Examples of comprehensive ITP-CE involving multiple CE injections of preconcentrated ITP zones are demonstrated. In the comprehensive arrangement, all of the sample in the first dimension (ITP) is subjected to analysis in the second dimension (CE), without significant sample loss or decrease in sample detectability resulting from removal of a portion of the sample. This is especially important for analytes at low concentrations which may form a single mixed zone instead of individual ITP zones. Direct online coupling of ITP to CE in this comprehensive arrangement involved the use of columns having different diameters with one directly inserted inside the other. A counterflow was applied when the isotachophoretic sample stack reached the bifurcation point. Large volume (10 µL) injections were made using an electrically-insulated commercial polymeric rotary valve injector for increased reproducibility compared to previous comprehensive ITP-CE studies, with ITP and CE retention time RSD values ranging from 2-5%. An ultraviolet (UV) detector positioned at the bifurcation point was used to determine the beginning of CE injection. Application of a splitting voltage at the bifurcation point showed no affect on analyte transfer into the CE column. By using multiple injections of the ITP band(s), CE column overloading was not observed.

Online capillary isotachophoresis (ITP) and comprehensive isotachophoresis-capillary electrophoresis (ITP-CE) were also coupled with electrospray ionization (ESI)-orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS). Separations were performed using 200 µm I.D. and 50 µM I.D. polyvinylalcohol (PVA)-coated fused silica capillaries for ITP and CE, respectively. Both ITP and ITP-CE were coupled to TOFMS for analysis of sufficient (10-5 M) and insufficient (10-6-10-7 M) concentrations of angiotensins in mixtures. ITP-TOFMS of a single mixed zone of five angiotensins (3 x 10-7 M) showed that ion suppression due to the co-elution of angiotensin III in the electrospray significantly reduced the ionization of other analytes. A practical solution to the detection difficulties for ITP mixed zones involved the insertion of a CE separation between the ITP and TOFMS for online preconcentration, separation, and identification in one system.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type




First Advisor

Milton L. Lee

Second Advisor

N. Kent Dalley

Third Advisor

David V. Dearden

Fourth Advisor

Paul B. Farnsworth

Fifth Advisor

Steven W. Graves


isotachophoresis, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, capillary zone electrophoresis, ITP, CE

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Biochemistry Commons