291052 Separation of Racemic Mixtures by Micro HPLC
Racemic mixtures are mixtures of compounds that differ only in rotation about a chiral center, making them quite difficult to separate due to having nearly identical properties. In the year 2000, chiral drugs grossed over 100 billion dollars in sales and have continued to grow in their usage. Sometimes the wrong chirality of the drug can cause severe side effects; such was the case with the drug thalidomide banned for pregnant women. Separation techniques allow us to simply produce the general molecule and choose the desired orientation. Typically, this type of separation utilizes the process of moving bed chromatography to achieve the desired purity.
I am working on replacing the current large diameter column setup of moving beds with stacks of capillary columns to take advantage of the higher efficiency associated with such columns. Due to the difficulty of packing capillary columns with conventional silica particles, I am attempting to utilize polymer monoliths to prepare long uniform columns which can be cut into smaller columns to create these capillary stacks. Uniformity among the columns is extremely important because the goal is to establish a simulated moving bed system, which will require identical retention time between each column in the stack; as a consequence of this, my current work focuses on establishing a method to create reproducible polymeric columns.