Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is a widely employed laboratory technique used to separate different biochemicals on the basis of their relative attractions to the stationary and mobile phases. It is similar to paper chromatography. However, instead of using a stationary phase of paper, it involves a stationary phase of a thin layer of adsorbent like silica gel, alumina, or cellulose on a flat, inert substrate. TLC is very versatile; multiple samples can be separated simultaneously on the same layer, making it very useful for screening applications such as testing drug levels and water purity. Possibility of cross-contamination is low since each separation is performed on a new layer. Compared to paper, it has the advantage of faster runs, better separations, better quantitative analysis, and the choice between different adsorbents. For even better resolution and faster separation that utilizes less solvent, high-performance TLC can be used. An older popular use had been to differentiate chromosomes by observing distance in gel (separation of was a separate step).
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