Sweeping and New On-line Sample Preconcentration Techniques in Capillary Electrophoresis

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Sweeping is a powerful on-line sample preconcentration technique that improves the concentration sensitivity of capillary electrophoresis (CE). This approach is designed to focus the analyte into narrow bands within the capillary, thereby increasing the sample volume that can be injected, without any loss of CE efficiency. It utilizes the interactions between an additive [i.e., a pseudostationary phase (PS) or complexing agent] in the separation buffer and the sample in a matrix that is devoid of the additive used. The accumulation occurs due to chromatographic partitioning, complexation or any interaction between analytes and the additive through electrophoresis. The extent of the preconcentration is dependent on the strength of interaction involved. Both charged and neutral analytes can be preconcentrated. Remarkable improvements—up to several thousandfold—in detection sensitivity have been achieved. This suggests that sweeping is a superior and general approach to on-line sample preconcentration in CE. The focusing mechanism of sweeping under different experimental conditions and its combination with other on-line preconcentration techniques are discussed in this review. The recently introduced techniques of transient trapping (tr-trapping) and analyte focusing by micelle collapse (AFMC) as well as other novel approaches to on-line sample preconcentration are also described.