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ELSD: Design Principles and Structure

Date of issue: 2023-07-17
Browsing popularity: 761

The Evaporative Light Scattering Detector (ELSD) is a detector commonly used in liquid chromatography analysis. It is based on the principle of measuring the scattering of light from particles formed when the sample is atomized, evaporated, and converted into aerosol particles with the aid of an auxiliary gas. The basic structure of the ELSD consists of three main components: aerosolization and droplet treatment, evaporation, and light scattering detection.

1. Aerosolization and Droplet Treatment: The liquid phase is mixed with the auxiliary gas and passed through a nozzle or nebulizer to form a dense mist (liquid aerosol or droplets). Due to the non-uniformity and inconsistency of the liquid aerosol, it requires treatment to ensure effective evaporation. This treatment process is called splitting, and different splitting techniques can be used, such as restrictor splitting, impactors, low-temperature splitting, and thermal splitting. Different ELSD types (Type A and Type B) are distinguished based on different splitting techniques, which affect the droplet treatment and evaporation efficiency.

2. Evaporation: The aerosolized liquid undergoes further flow towards the heated region (evaporation zone or drift tube). In the evaporation zone, the liquid aerosol gradually evaporates under the influence of heat. Components of the sample with low volatility form particles and are driven into the light beam channel by the auxiliary gas.

3. Light Scattering Detection: The detection area contains a light source and a light detector. The light source forms a beam of light after optical processing, passing through the end of the drift tube. When the sample particles enter the light beam, light scattering occurs. The scattered light is detected by a light detector positioned at 90 degrees, generating a scattered light signal. By measuring the intensity of the scattered light, the quantity of sample particles can be predicted, and thus, the sample concentration can be determined.

The design principle and structure of the ELSD allow it to detect samples that are not easily volatile in the liquid phase, providing a sensitive and versatile detection method suitable for various liquid chromatography analysis applications. Depending on the nature of the sample and analytical requirements, the appropriate ELSD type and operating parameters can be selected to obtain accurate and reliable analytical results.

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