Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Ion-exchange Chromatography

Ion chromatography (IC) is a subset of liquid chromatography methods: ion exchange, ion exclusion, ion pair chromatography. IC is a useful tool for determining the presence and concentration of ions in samples and is utilized in numerous industrial and research settings including a test for authentic tequila and for environmental analyzes such as the determination of anions (\(PO_4^{3-}\), \(Cl^-\), \(NO_3^-\), etc) in surface waters. Ion-exchange is the basic principle behind the removal of cations and anions from drinking water using most commercial, such as Brita, water filters. Ion-exchange is also a natural process that occurs with clay substrates, resulting in the mobility of cations in soils.

This module provides an introduction to Ion Chromatography. In this module the basic theory and applications of IC will be presented at a level that assumes a basic general chemistry background. It is designed to move through the module sequentially using the links below. This module presents the basic history, theory, and applications of IC. The module focuses on ion exchange chromatography, as it is the most common use of IC in environmental analysis, but includes the related ion exclusion and ion pair methods.