HPLC fused-silica tubes, just one of the high-quality capillary glasses offered by Sutter Instrument, are increasingly being used to produce nozzles for a variety of mass spectroscopy applications.
Traditional Methods of Tube Preparation
The Sutter P-2000/F micropipette puller ensures that these tubes are drawn to the desired size by softening the glass with an infrared laser. As HPLC tubes are usually covered with a thin outer coating of plastic, this must be removed before heating so that the laser can function effectively and to prevent soot from accumulating on the puller.
Removal of the plastic coating can be achieved using multiple approaches. One of the most popular methods is to burn the plastic off. This is a rather simple and cost-effective process, merely requiring use of a single butane torch.
It is beneficial to hold the tubing in a vertical position and manually rotate it during this heating procedure; if held horizontally, there is risk that the softened fused silica tube may bend under the weight of gravity. This approach involves close contact with open flames and therefore does carry the potential for discomfort or injury, particularly with tubes small in length.
Improved Prep with the Protective Ruler
A solution to this issue comes in the form of a Protective Ruler. Developed by Dr. Guisen Jiang of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, this ruler ensures that preparation of HPLC tubes is a much-improved process.
This innovative tool is created from aluminum and is black anodized. Bearing some similarities to the glass-holding system on the P-2000/F puller bars, the Protective Ruler is V-grooved along its length and clamps to hold the tubes in a fixed position. An oval-shaped hole in the middle of the V-groove enables contained contact with the flame of the torch. Crucially, this cut-out means that only the portion of the tube within this area is exposed to the flame.
The Protective Ruler shows markings of centimeters, inches, millimeters and eighths of an inch. These divisions start at the center of the ruler and increase in both directions making it easy to center any length of tubing up to 250 mm or 10 inches. This tool removes the need for the trial-and-error learning process of the traditional hand-held method.
One major benefit of this tool is that it clamps the tube in a straight line, minimizing any risk of bending even in extreme heat. In addition, two mounting holes at the top of the ruler offer the opportunity for it to be hung from a fixture for easy storage.
For over 45 years, Sutter Instrument has been a recognized global leader in the design, and manufacture of specialized biomedical research instrumentation essential to biomedical research and emerging analytical techniques that utilize sub-micron probes and pipettes.
With distributors in over 38 nations outside the United States, our strong customer orientation, technical expertise and commitment to quality, has helped us develop an exceptionally loyal customer base that offer insights to advancing technologies and exhibit significant repeat purchasing patterns.
The unique synergy between our product groups (microprobe fabrication, micromanipulation, imaging, and micromanipulation) affords the company an ideal position for expansion and growth, especially in the high-growth fields of neuroscience, high-speed imaging, genomics, optogenetics, drug discovery and stem-cell research.
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