Investigation of the stability of polyelectrolyte multilayer coatings in open-tubular capillary electrochromatography using laser scanning confocal microscopy

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A simple polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) coating procedure was used for the development of stable modified capillaries. PEM coatings were constructed in fused-silica capillaries using alternating rinses of cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes. The multilayer coatings investigated in this study consisted of two and twenty layer pairs, or bilayers. A bilayer is one layer of a cationic polymer and one layer of an anionic polymer. Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) was used as the cationic polymer, and the polymeric surfactant poly(sodium N-undecanoyl-L-leucylvalinate) was used as the anionic polymer. Previous studies for both chiral and achiral separations have shown that PEM-coated capillaries have excellent reproducibilities, remarkable endurance, and strong stabilities against extreme pH values when used in open-tubular capillary electrochromatography (OT-CEC). In this study, the stability of the coatings was further investigated after exposure to 0.1 M and 1.0 M NaOH. Structural changes of these coatings were monitored using laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) after flushing the capillaries with NaOH. This technique allowed observation of the degradation of the coatings. Observations are discussed in terms of separations using OT-CEC. Electropherograms obtained from the chiral separation of 1,1′-binaphthyl-2,2′-dihydrogenphosphate in OT-CEC showed a decrease in selectivity and an increase in electroosmotic mobility after long exposure to NaOH. The ability to recover the capillaries by exposure to NaOH was also demonstrated. Measurements of electroosmotic mobility and selectivity showed that 2-bilayer and 20-bilayer PEM coatings could be completely removed from the capillary surface after approximately 3.5 and 9.5 h, respectively, of continuous exposure to 1 M NaOH. © 2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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