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Separations by Shape: Molecular Shape Recognition in Liquid Chromatography



Lane C. Sander


Molecular shape can provide a basis for chromatographic separations that is distinct from other interaction mechanisms often considered in liquid chromatography. Molecular shape recognition, or shape selectivity, is most evident for the separation of isomeric compounds that have constrained molecular structures, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A central feature of shape selective columns is conformational order within the stationary phase; this aspect of stationary phase morphology is revealed through spectroscopic studies and molecular dynamic simulations, and is correlated with chromatographic performance.


Shape selectivity, conformational order, retention mechanism, isomers, stationary phase


Sander, L. (2022), Separations by Shape: Molecular Shape Recognition in Liquid Chromatography, Chromatographia, [online],, (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created February 28, 2022, Updated July 12, 2023