Novel, trifunctional diamine for silica coating in capillary zone electrophoresis

Roberto Sebastiano, Cecilia Gelfi, Pier Giorgio Righetti, Attilio Citterio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel compound {quaternarized piperazine [(N-methyl,N-4-iodobutyl)- N'-methylpiperazine] (QPzI)} for the coating of a silica capillary able to reduce or invert the electroosmotic flow (EOF) in capillary zone electrophoresis is reported. Unlike standard oligoamines (like spermine and tetraethylene pentamine) which are very efficient in quenching macromolecule interaction with the silica wall, but only in acidic pH ranges, QPzI acts all along the pH scale, including alkaline pH ranges. It is believed that QPzI behaves like a trifunctional derivative: it forms ionic bonds with dissociated silanols via its quaternary nitrogen, hydrogen bonds via its tertiary nitrogen and, most importantly, a covalent bond via alkylation of ionized silanols through the terminal iodine atom in the butyl chain. Excellent separations are obtained with a variety of organic compounds, such as aromatic carboxylic acids, tryptophan metabolites and arylalkanoic acids. Such separations could not be obtained in naked capillaries in the presence of oligoamines and on some occasions not even with capillaries coated with a covalent layer of neutral polymers. In separations taking place in alkaline media, QPzI is not added to the background electrolyte, but is used simply in the capillary pre-conditioning step, a unique feature strongly supporting the hypothesis of its covalent binding to the silica surface. In difficult separations, such as in the case of o-/p-OMe-phenylacetic acids or nicotinic/picolinic acid, which would not normally occur under standard conditions, it is believed that QPzI acts as a discriminator, thus playing an active role in the separation process, rather than simply modulating the EOF. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 13 2000


  • (N-Methyliodobutyl)-N'- methylpiperazine
  • Coated columns
  • Diamines
  • Electroosmotic flow
  • Organic acids
  • Piperazines
  • Silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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