Automated flash chromatography has become an integral component of the workflows of both synthetic organic chemistry and natural product research. The most utilized chromatographic technique is normal-phase, which uses a polar stationary phase filled column (i.e. silica) and a mix of non-polar and moderately polar solvents, i.e. hexane or heptane and ethyl acetate (EtOAc), resp.
Flash chromatography can be complex. Solvent choice, column size, stationary phase, loading technique, gradient method, flow rate, and detection parameters are all variables which factor into flash chromatography and your success with this purification technique. Of these variables, detection parameters, i.e. the type of detector, can really impact your flash chromatography results.
As chemists, our job is to make new molecules. If our synthetic design works as planned, we will have success and the target product made. As we all know, along with our desired compound, by-products are often created as well. To remove the by-products, the reaction mixture requires purification, typically with flash chromatography.