Thin Layer Chromatography

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Preparing the Developing Chamber
Preparing the Plates for Development
Developing the Plates
Identifying the Spots
Interpreting the Chromatogram
Additional Topics
Self Check Exercises 1
Self Check Exercises 2
Related Modules
Gas Chromatography
Paper Chromatography



IMAGE. Equipment used in a thin layer chromatography experiment.

Video. The separation of two substances by TLC.

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is a method for identifying substances and testing the purity of compounds. TLC is a useful technique because it is relatively quick and requires small quantities of material.

Separations in TLC involve distributing a mixture of two or more substances between a stationary phase and a mobile phase. The stationary phase is a thin layer of adsorbent (usually silica gel or alumina) coated on a plate. The mobile phase is a developing liquid which travels up the stationary phase, carrying the samples with it. Components of the samples will separate according to how strongly they adsorb on the stationary phase versus how readily they dissolve in the mobile phase.