Thin layer chromatography in forensic science

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Thin layer chromatography in forensic science

by | Mar 15, 2020

Thin layer chromatography, often abbreviated as TLC, is one of the most basic and important chromatography techniques which most of us have performed during our academics. But how many of us are aware that thin layer chromatography in forensic science is a powerful tool?

Chromatography is the technique used for separation of compounds from complex mixtures. It consists of two phases- a stationary phase and a mobile phase. The stationary phase consists of a thin layer of alumina or silica particles coated on a plate whereas the mobile phase is dependent on the type of analyte.

The technique of HPTLC has low maintainance cost equipments, requiring minimal solvents (30mL) for 15 samples, making it cost-effective for routine investigation procedures. Disposable plates and contamination free instrument design helps in quick-running of samples with no waiting time for instrument set-up. The sample or the analyte migrate through the plate depending on its chemical properties.

Thin Layer Chromatography is used majorly in the narcotics and toxicology departments of forensic science for the analysis of different forensic samples such as drugs and pesticides, explosives, tranquilizers, fingerprint chromatography etc. The results obtained are accurate, reliable, reproducible and faster which makes TLC as one of the most convenient method of analysis in forensic science.

Forensic toxicology is one of the challenging aspects for screening of viscera samples. This involves tremendous sample clean-up, matrix interference which are difficult to process. However, in HPTLC Forensic Application, this aspect does not interfere with analysis, making it an ideal choice for quick screening of diverse samples.

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