This paper presents the first study of the UV imaging of spots on thin-layer chromatographic plates whilst still wet with solvent. Imaging of spots of benzophenone during and after development was carried out using a charge-coupled device camera. Limits of detection were found to be 5 ng on a wetted plate and 3 ng for a dry plate and the relationship between peak area and sample loading was found to be linear in the low nanograrn range over an order of magnitude for both wet and dry modes with r(2) values > 0.99. It was found that UV measurements on wet glass-backed plates suffer from low sensitivity; however, the use of aluminium-backed plates gave increased sensitivity. The apparent absorption coefficient (epsilon(app)) of 10AU m(2) g(-1) at 254 nm is consistent with reflection of the light from the aluminium surface with a double pass through the sorbent layer, and suggests that use of aluminium-backed plates should enable monitoring of separations by UV absorbance during TLC development. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
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