The emergence of new and increasingly complex synthetic biopolymers, novel polymers, and polymer additives with a broad range of structural and compositional diversity has been a driving force in the development of advanced separation and analytical technologies for polymer characterization. Today analysts seek innovative techniques that allow them to detect and identify components of interest in highly complex samples with high sensitivity and to quantify components at the low levels required by regulation. Achieving these goals presents numerous challenges, including the potential for large variation in sample concentrations, the presence of components of interest at trace levels, and increasingly complex mixtures comprised of new types of novel "green" and bio-based polymers.
This whitepaper describes how the analytical technology sector is innovating and developing advanced instrument systems and solutions that meet the specific challenges faced by the polymer industry. The discussion targets two key technology areas related to polymer characterization — chromatography and mass spectrometry (MS).