uhplcThis summer sees two prominent five-year anniversaries taking place: in July 2014 the first Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ UHPLC system was launched, the Vanquish Horizon, and then in September 2014 I joined Thermo Fisher Scientific! You might be pleased to know though, that in this article I’m only going to talk about the former.

The July 2014 launch of the Vanquish Horizon UHPLC system was the beginning of a revolutionary period in liquid chromatography that raised the bar in separation capabilities and has continued to exceed expectations. The Vanquish Horizon was truly a revolution, compared to an evolution as this was a completely new UHPLC system, built from the bottom-up and using user input and engineering innovation to design a next-generation instrument rather than simply modifying and evolving an older platform. This gave rise to a number of new and unique operator benefits:

  • Increased back-pressure – The Vanquish Horizon is capable of operating at back pressures up to 1500 bar, which offers either increased resolution or faster separations or any combination in-between. Even if your applications currently don’t require such pressures, then it offers a future-proofing for emerging separations that require higher pressures when using smaller particles; column technology is developing making higher pressure systems inevitable.
  • System robustness – A number of features were built into the Vanquish platform to ensure that uptime was enhanced and that if maintenance was required, this was kept to a minimum. Features such as the no maintenance ceramic injection valve, slide-out modules and modern components mean significantly less interventions compared to comparable UHPLC instruments.
  • SmartInject technology – This is one of my favourites. By injecting the sample at system operating pressure rather than atmospheric pressure you avoid large pressure differences at the point of sample injection. This has several major benefits: firstly it reduces pressure shocks to the column which extends the lifetime of the column and improves quantification of early eluting compounds, and secondly, contributes to the amazing retention time precision seen on the Vanquish platform by giving greater control of the flow path.
  • Optimal performance – Every aspect and component was considered when designing the Vanquish platform and how these components and modules would integrate to improve system performance. This offers enhanced performance wherever you look in the Vanquish, from improved sensitivity, low pump pulsation, precise, but flexible thermostatting options to increased sample capacity and control.

Continued Revolution

Over the intervening five years, the revolution has not stopped; not only has the Vanquish platform delivered on the expectations we envisaged at the outset, but new innovations have continuously arrived to expand the capabilities of the Vanquish platform:

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  • Vanquish Flex UHPLC Systems – As the name suggests, flexible, 1000 bar systems available with either binary or quaternary pumps. Containing all the inherent Vanquish platform characteristics such as biocompatibility, active and passive pre-heating, air-to-air sample cooling, etc., but with different pumping and gradient delay volumes for application flexibility.
  • Vanquish Charged Aerosol Detectors – By adding a charged aerosol detector (CAD) into the Vanquish platform, it provides an integrated near-universal detector with the ability to do quantitative estimations without the need of reference standards in to the UHPLC stack.
  • Vanquish Duo – In 2018, the next development to the Vanquish platform was unveiled in the form of the Vanquish Duo. The addition of two new modules, a dual gradient pump and a unique dual autosampler into the Vanquish platform enabled three new workflows (Dual LC, Tandem LC or LC-MS and Inverse Gradient) and two completely independent flow paths in to a single UHPLC solution.

Obviously, I’m a little biased in my thinking, but as can be seen in this user testimonial video, the Vanquish platform really has delivered the benefits that we considered the revolutionary design would deliver. I am constantly reminded as to how a relatively insignificant change in the design has led to improved performance and tangible benefits to the user.

If I summarise the last five years, the Vanquish platform has been a revolution in liquid chromatography and how quickly the time has flown (for both Vanquish and myself). What will the future bring? We shall have to wait and see…..

Additional Resources

Explore the Vanquish systems in more detail in this interactive tour.