Aug. 26, 2014
NewsScientific News

CASSS Award 2014 in Separation Science

Professor Nobuo Tanaka to Receive 2014 CASSS Award

  • Nobuo TanakaNobuo Tanaka

CASSS, an International Separation Science Society, is pleased to announce that its 19th annual award for life-long contributions to the field of separation science will be awarded to Professor Nobuo Tanaka of Kyoto, Japan.

This award has a long tradition with the first being presented in 1995. A nominee must have made an outstanding contribution to the fields of separation science and technology with particular consideration given to developments of new methods and techniques. The award consists of $500, a plaque, and this year, an invitation to speak and reimbursement of travel expenses to the 30th International Symposium on Chromatography in Salzburg, Austria.

Monolithic Silica Columns for HPLC

Professor Tanaka has made several important contributions to the science of chromatography. His most important contribution was the development, and the reduction to practice, of monolithic silica columns for HPLC. The significance of this advance was emphasized by Georges Guiochon, who wrote, "The advent of monolithic packings is the single most important advance in the preparation of chromatography columns since the work of Tswett a century ago".
Professor Tanaka received all of his formal education at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan. After graduation, he spent several years as a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington in Seattle, and finally, at Northeastern University in Boston. He returned to Japan in 1979 and rose through the professor ranks, achieving full professor status at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, where he was active for 30 years until his mandatory retirement in 2009. Since then, he has been a technical advisor to GL Sciences.

Increasing Permeability of Columns

Professor Tanaka has conducted a plethora of research including the preparation of silica-based and polymer-based stationary phases, studies of their chromatographic properties, and the study of the effect of pressure on solute retention in reversed-phase LC.

His first, and seminal paper on monolithic silica columns for HPLC was published in 1996 [1]. It introduced a monolithic column with C18 functionalities enabling very fast and efficient separations of small molecules. The striking novelty of these columns was their high permeability, which was achieved without adversely affecting their efficiency.
A large number of publications about monolithic silica columns followed, and each demonstrated his seemingly boundless creativity. For example, his group used 8 m long octadecylsilylated monolithic capillary columns to baseline separate benzene from its counterpart with a single hydrogen molecule substituted with deuterium. Similar systems generated one million theoretical plates for a retained compound [2]. His functionalization of silica monoliths using the "grafting-to" procedure to functionalize the pore surface and to enable other separation mechanisms such as HILIC and ion exchange has been widely acclaimed [3]. To no one's surprise, his monolithic columns attracted the close attention of the chromatographic industry and were successfully commercialized.

[1] Minakuchi H. et al.: Anal. Chem. 68, 3498 (1996)
[2] Miyamoto K. et al.: Anal. Chem. 80, 8741 (2008)
[3] Horie K. et al.: J. Chromatogr. A 1164, 198 (2007)


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