In high-performance liquid chromatography, use of any post-column reactor invariably involves a compromise between the conditions needed to obtain complete reaction and avoidance of excessive dispersion by band broadening in the reactor. Flow rate and the reactor geometry interact to establish the final chromatographic performance. Based on the flow-rate dependence of the peak area and peak height, post-column detectors constitute a distinct class of detectors which differ from mass-flow and concentrations-sensitive detectors such as the flame ionization and absorbance detector, respectively. The concept of reactor length optimization is developed for first-order chemical reactions in a post-column detector. The findings are applicable to both chromatographic and flow-injection systems.
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