Liquid chromatography at critical conditions (LCCC): Capabilities and limitations for polymer analysis

Kristof Molnar, Carin A. Helfer, Gabor Kaszas, Eniko Krisch, Dongjie Chen, Gregory B. McKenna, Julia A. Kornfield, Judit E. Puskas

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This paper investigates liquid chromatography at critical condition (LCCC) for polymer analysis. Based on controversial claims on the separation of cyclic polymers from linear analogues in the literature, the efficiency of LCCC for separation and purity analysis is questioned. Polyisobutylene (PIB) and poly(3,6-dioxa-1,8-octanedithiols) (polyDODT) were used for the study. The structure of low molecular weight cyclic and linear polyDODT was demonstrated by MALDI-ToF. NMR did not show the presence of thiol end groups in higher molecular weight PIB-disulfide and polyDODT samples, so they were considered cyclic polymers. When a low molecular weight polyDODT oligomer with only traces of cycles, as demonstrated by MALDI-ToF, was mixed with an Mn = 27 K g/mol cyclic sample, LCCC did not detect the presence of linear oligomers at 6 wt%. Based on the data presented here, it can be concluded that the LCCC method is not capable of measuring <6 wt% linear contamination so earlier claims for cyclic polystyrene (PS) samples purified by LCCC having <3% linear contaminants are questioned.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114956
JournalJournal of Molecular Liquids
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021


  • Critical conditions
  • Disulfide cyclic polymers
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Poly(3,6-dioxa-1,8-octanedithiol)
  • Polyisobutylene
  • Sensitivity


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