A new method has been developed to facilitate the use of fullerenes as stationary phases (SPs) in gas chromatography (GC). In this method, ionic liquids (ILs) are used as solvents to coat fullerenes (C(60), amino-C(60) and hydroxy-C(60)) onto GC columns. However, the ILs serve not just as coating solvents but also act synergistically with fullerenes to provide unique properties as stationary phases, namely dual modal characteristics. They act as non-polar SPs when separating non-polar analytes (aromatic hydrocarbon mixtures and alkane mixtures), and as polar SPs for polar analytes (e.g., alcohol mixtures). The polarity of the stationary phase can be adjusted by changing either the type of the IL and/or by adding either C(60) (or its amino or hydroxy derivatives) to the IL. It was found that C(60) and its derivatives produce not only a change in the polarity of the SP but also substantial enhancement in separation efficiencies for both non-polar and polar analytes. More importantly, when added to the IL SP, C(60) improves separation efficiencies not just for non-polar analytes (aromatic hydrocarbon mixtures and alkane mixtures) but also for polar analytes (mixtures of ortho-, meta- and para-xylene and alcohol mixtures) as well. Moreover, C(60) SP provides higher efficiencies than amino-C(60) and hydroxy-C(60) for separation of polar analytes. This is rather surprising considering that not only are amino-C(60) and hydroxy-C(60) more polar than C(60), but that the IL used to coat the amino- and hydroxy-C(60) (i.e., N-ethylpyridinium trifluoroacetate, [EtPy(+) CF(3)COO(-)]) is more polar than the IL used to coat the C(60) (i.e., octylmethylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethyl)sulfonyl)amide], [OMIm(+) (CF(3)SO(2))(2)N(-)]). Moreover, compared to its amino and hydroxy derivatives, the concentration of C(60) in the column was 10 times lower.
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