Micromachined Groove Networks To Produce Perfectly Ordered Columns for Liquid Chromatography

Project Details


High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is one of the most powerful and economically most relevant analytical separation processes. The technique is based on the use of randomly packed bed columns filled with micron-sized spherical particles with uniform size. The annual market of such HPLC columns is worth 1.7 million columns/y, representing a turnover of about 1.5 billion USD/y. HPLC has a pivotal role in the chemical and (bio)pharmaceutical industries.

However, simulations and theoretical analysis have shown that even the best packed state-of-the-art columns lose about 50% of their efficiency to the random nature with which the particles are packed in these columns.

Combining the candidate’s discovered approach and great progress in stacking micron-sized particles in micromachined grooves with the expertise of our group on the fabrication and use micropillar array columns, this project aims at developing a groundbreaking new HPLC column concept wherein the particles are no longer randomly packed but are orderly stacked in regular networks of micromachined parallel flow-through channels.

The project encompasses a comprehensive study of the different parameters of the column filling process, the theoretical and experimental evaluation and optimization of the microscopic and macroscopic design of the groove networks, as well as a detailed characterization of the chromatographic performance of the columns, under idealized and in real-world industrial conditions
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/22


  • Perfectly ordered packed beds to enhance the separation performance of liquid chromatography
  • Large scale forced assembly of colloidal particles as an engineering tool for the production of perfectly ordered packed beds
  • Groundbreaking innovation in separation science aimed at tackling major challenges in the life science industry of the 21st century

Flemish discipline codes

  • Modelling, simulation and optimisation
  • Powder and particle technology
  • Separation technologies
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Microfluidics/flow chemistry