Chromatography labs vary largely based on the type of chromatography method used.
They are designed in a way suitable for the particular chromatographic procedure.
However, all the chromatography labs have some common requirements to ensure the sensitivity, reproducibility, and reliability of analytical results.
Since the chromatographic procedure is one of the mandatory requirements in some research, it is necessary to provide a well-equipped lab for long-term benefit.
An ideal Chromatography lab
1. Spacious room
Most of the modern and advanced chromatography systems have a good amount of spares and accessories to be kept in the right places.
So, spacious rooms will benefit the easy accommodation of chromatography equipment and accessories.
Further, during the experiment, one performs many operations like solvent degassing, filtration, etc.
So, the room should have sufficient space for both equipment and manpower to work.
2. Regular electric supply with backup
Most of the HPLC and other chromatography instruments with advanced technology require a steady supply of electric energy.
Any power breaks during the experiment will lead to a restart of the entire procedure or even an instrumental breakdown.
So, a steady power supply with the backup of an inverter is essential.
3. Good lightning facility
Since the procedure of operation is very systematic and tedious, good lighting is mandatory for the chromatography lab.
Also, good lighting helps to view small parts of the instrument without any hassle and helps avoid errors and mistakes.
This lighting should preferably be a white light emitting minimal heat.
For this, one can use LED bulbs as they are more efficient, economical, and also less heating.
4. Air-conditioned room
The sophisticated instrumentation used in chromatography is sensitive to temperature changes.
High temperatures can affect the sample, solvent system, and column performance, too.
The spectroscopic detectors like the UV-visible detector, potentiometric, and other detectors are quite sensitive and get heated up.
This heating of detectors can lead to abnormal detection and sometimes even dysfunction during the process.
Hence, the temperature has to be kept steady, preferably at room temperature.
For this, many labs employ air-conditioning systems to maintain temperature.
However, this air conditioning also ensures a dust-free environment in the lab, preventing the accumulation of dirt in the lab and instruments.
5. Clean and Spacious workbenches
There must be workbenches or tables to accommodate the entire Chromatography instrument.
The equipment is quite large and requires a proper and safe place to install them.
Besides, the chromatographic procedures and methods use a lot of utilities like pipettes, syringes, sample tubes, beakers, etc.
The presence of a big bench is advised to prevent loss due to spillage, etc.
6. Dust-free room
Preferably kept airtight to prevent dust entry. Dust is one of the important factors which can lead to errors in chromatography instrumentation. To see that the chromatographic system functions effectively, precautions should be taken such that dust does not accumulate on the floor, roof, walls, etc. Also, there should be proper cleaning arrangements to remove dust regularly, and airtight locking is needed.
7. Storage conditions
Most of the solvents, materials, and equipment used in HPLC are expensive and of high quality. So they need to be stored very carefully.
Solvents need to be stored on proper shelves such that they do not evaporate to release their vapors into the air in the lab.
Further, the mobile phase prepared sometimes needs to be stored at a cold temperature like -20 or less.
This helps to keep their composition intact as well as prevent the growth of microbes.
8. Seating arrangements
Inside the lab, not more than 2 people should work on the chromatography system.
For this, they should have minimal seating with just two or more rotator stools. Heavy chairs, sofas, etc., should be avoided in the lab.
There should be an exhaust system to remove any poisonous fumes emitted from solvents and chemicals used in the lab.
Besides the instrumentation, all the reagents, chemicals, and solvents used should be of HPLC grade for better performance.