In a recent edition of Analytica Chimica Acta, a groundbreaking study was published detailing the successful immobilization of two dendritic organic phases onto silica, marking a significant advancement in the field of analytical chemistry. The study, authored by a team of scientists from Ningxia University’s State Key Laboratory of High-Efficiency Utilization of Coal and Green Chemical Engineering, demonstrates a robust approach toward the challenging separation of molecular isomers, particularly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tocopherols, and carotenoid isomers.

The publication, which appeared on February 01, 2024, is entitled “Immobilization of two dendritic organic phases onto silica and their molecular shape recognition for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tocopherols and carotenoid isomers” (Analytica chimica acta, 2024 Feb 01; 1288:342156. DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342156), and it emphasizes the relevance of molecular shape recognition in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Background and Importance

The separation of structural isomers represents a considerable challenge in chemistry and biochemistry due to their similar physicochemical properties. This obstacle is particularly prominent in the field of separation science, where high precision and accuracy are paramount. Molecular shape selectivity emerges as an innovative solution to distinguish between isomers by focusing on their size and shape parameters, such as length and planarity. The implementation of this method has profound implications for pharmaceuticals, food industry, and environmental monitoring, where identifying and quantifying specific isomers plays a critical role in quality control and safety.

Advancements in Molecular Shape Selectivity

The research team, involving experts Li Yuanyuan, Li Shaorong, Wu Yongli, Ma Yulong, Ji Wenxin, Sun Yonggang, and Shi Keren, constructed symmetrical discoidal dendrimeric organomolecule gelators (G_SDM2) and incorporated them onto silica surfaces (SiO2_SDM). This innovative approach leveraged the combined effect of weak interaction centers, allowing for the effective separation of bioactive and shape-restricted isomers through a variety of interactions.

This breakthrough was achieved using a mixed-mode stationary phase within HPLC, which harnessed the potential of dendritic organic molecular gelators. These gelators, characterized by their branching symmetrical structure, interact with target molecules differently based on their molecular shapes, facilitating the differentiation and separation of geometric isomers.

The success of this development can be attributed to the unique properties of the dendritic phases, which provide multiple interaction points. Furthermore, the robustness of the phases ensures that they can withstand the dynamic conditions of HPLC, thus making them highly suitable for various analytical applications.

Implications for the Future of Chemical Analysis

The implications of this research extend far beyond the specific separation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tocopherols, and carotenoid isomers. They pave the way for more refined analytical protocols that can distinguish between molecular isomers in a wide range of applications. These advancements are particularly relevant to industries where the biological impact of specific isomers is a critical factor, such as in the development of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals where isomer-specific effects can have profound therapeutic implications.

Scientific Collaboration and Acknowledgments

The notable accomplishments of the research team are anchored in the collaborative spirit upheld by the faculty and researchers at Ningxia University. The study, conducted with the ethos of transparency and scientific excellence, ensures that no competing financial interests or personal relationships influenced the reported work. This declaration highlights the integrity of the research and the commitment of the scientists involved to advance the field of analytical chemistry.

In conclusion, the immobilization of dendric organic phases onto silica emerges as a promising venture that addresses a longstanding challenge faced by chemists and analysts. It steers the direction of future research toward developing even more discriminating methods for molecular separation, with potential applications spilling into various scientific and industrial domains.


1. Li, Y., Li, S., Wu, Y., Ma, Y., Ji, W., Sun, Y., & Shi, K. (2024). Immobilization of two dendritic organic phases onto silica and their molecular shape recognition for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tocopherols and carotenoid isomers. Analytica chimica acta, 1288, 342156. DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342156
2. Other sources for references can be academic journals such as the Journal of Chromatography A, Talanta, Chromatographia, and the Journal of Separation Science, but specific articles need to be selected relevant to this study.


1. Molecular Shape Selectivity
2. HPLC Stationary Phases
3. Dendritic Organic Gelators
4. Isomer Separation
5. Analytical Chemistry Breakthrough