Dr. Lipsky (right) and his colleague, Maurice Godet, prepare a strip chart recorder for an early gas chromatograph - not a small device back in the late 1950's! Dr. Lipsky (center) holds a lunar GC component in 1962.
Lunar Gas Chromatograph designed in 1962.

Above left: Dr. Lipsky (right) and his colleague, Maurice Godet, prepare a strip chart recorder for an early gas chromatograph - not a small device back in the late 1950's!.

About top right: Dr. Lipsky (center) holds a lunar GC component in 1962.

Above bottom right: Lunar Gas Chromatograph designed in 1962.


For over 30 years, the QUADREX CORPORATION has invested a wealth of scientific expertise into the manufacturing of its' line of GC capillary columns.

The vision that started 32 years ago has even deeper roots deep in the very early days of gas chromatography. Quadrex Corporation was founded in 1976 by Prof. S.R. Lipsky, then the head of the Department of Physical Sciences at Yale University (New Haven, CT).

Figure 1 - One of the first FAMEs chromatograms from 1959. The total run time is 7 hours!
Figure 1 - One of the first FAMEs chromatograms from 1959. The total run time is 7 hours!

EARLY BACKGROUND - One of the early pioneers of high resolution gas chromatography, Dr. Lipsky was researching the field of lipids at Yale in the late 1950's when he decided to try a new and intriguing technique called gas chromatography (GC) which had been recently developed by Dr. Archer J.P. Martin and Dr. A.T. James. Dr. Lipsky's curiosity with this new technique led to the first successful analyses of fatty acids by gas chromatography (Figure 1) 1, demonstrating the capability of gas chromatography in the analyses of biochemical substances.

His attention was quickly drawn away from the research of lipids to further the developing field of gas chromatography, which continued throughout his 30-plus year career, yielding several patents and over 100 technical papers.

Dr. Lipsky (center) holds a lunar GC component in 1962.
Dr. Lipsky (center) holds a lunar GC component in 1962.

In 1960, together with Dr. Jim Lovelock, he invented one of the primary detectors used in environmental detection today, the electron capture detector (ECD) 2 . With his Yale colleague, Dr. Csaba Horvath, the technique of HPLC was developed. Dr. Lipsky pioneered the use of a GC in combination with a mass spectrometer, now commonly known as GC-MS.

Other early work included consulting projects with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA on their early lunar (Surveyor) missions, which sought to find the composition of the lunar surface. In 1960, he received a substantial grant from NASA to develop a "highly specialized, ultra-sensitive, miniature gas chromatograph" for this purpose.

The resulting instrument at right measured only 8" x 8" x 8" and weighed only 11 pounds. He also proposed the use of the little-known technique of GC-MS for the analysis of Martian soils and was appointed Lead Experimenter for NASA's Mariner program. Dr. Lipsky continued to work with NASA through the 1970's, and received lunar material brought back by the Apollo astronauts for GC-MS analysis.

Lunar Gas Chromatograph designed in 1962.
Lunar Gas Chromatograph designed in 1962.

GC COLUMN DEVELOPMENT - The expiration of the Perkin Elmer (Golay) patent on capillary columns in 1975 opened the GC market to a new generation of column manufacturers. Along with others at the time, Dr. Lipsky recognized the need for commercially available reproducible columns, and thus Quadrex was born. At the time, state-of-the-art column manufacturing focused on what was known as soft glass (borosilicate) columns. While providing leaps in performance over packed columns, these fragile columns were no match for the fused silica columns of today.

1980 Quadrex Black Knight fused silica column logo
1980 Quadrex Black Knight fused silica column logo

The 1979 landmark paper by Ray Dandeneau of Hewlett-Packard announced the development of fused silica columns to the world. Taking this lead, Dr. Lipsky sought out suppliers of the new flexible fused silica tubing material and found a local fused silica tubing source (coated with an outer layer of polyacrylate) in Massachusetts. As a result, Quadrex became the first column manufacturer to actually produce commercially available fused silica columns (known then as the 'Black Knights') which was introduced at the Fifteenth International Symposium, Advances in Chromatography, in Houston, TX in 1980.

By 1982, Quadrex fully made the switch from the 'Black Knights' to the now industry recognized standard polyimide-coated fused silica tubing for its column material.

Tswett Medal Dr. Lipsky's other developments in the 1980's include advancing bonded stationary phase technology, surface deactivations, and the development and introduction of aluminum-clad fused silica columns for high temperature applications in 1986. In 1982, for his contributions to the field of Gas Chromatography, Dr. Lipsky was the recipient of the Tswett Medal for Distinguished Work in Chromatography.

After the initial diagnosis in 1979, Dr. Lipsky passed away in 1986 after a seven year battle with Leukemia.

Today, under second generation management, Quadrex remains in the forefront of gas chromatography with many technical advancements. The Quadrex Corporation product line has grown to include a wide range of fused silica capillary columns, including specially developed columns for environmental and petrochemical applications.

In 1991, we initiated the development of a fully automated column coating system which resulted in a device we call the 'Workstation'. Our Workstations allow for faster column production speeds not normally attained with standard coating technologies.

Furthermore, we found that the Workstation technology enabled us to expand the range of film thicknesses we could coat onto the fused silica tubing. This ultimately led to our introduction of the line of PHAT Phase™ thick film capillary columns in 1995. These PHAT Phase™ columns offer unprecedented films of up to 18 microns on 0.53mm I.D. columns for low molecular weight analyses.

Utilizing this same coating technology on narrow-bore (0.10 and 0.18mm I.D.) columns, we now offer a line of PHAST GCTM columns, with standard and thick films, which maintain a balance between sample capacity levels and speed of analysis.

Quadrex, in a joint effort with the Zoex Corporation (Lincoln, NE) developed the first device to simplify capillary column installation. The Capillary Column Quick-Connect was introduced at the 1992 Pittsburgh Conference. The Quick-Connect fitting eased the column installation burden, also saving time and materials. Our close work with Zoex also pioneered early GC x GC instrumentation and column development.

Quadrex has established strategic partnerships with other manufacturers for the supply of related products, such as Ultra-ALLOYTM Stainless Steel Columns from Frontier Labs (Japan), full-featured portable GCs from SRI Instruments, gas generator systems from Peak Scientific (U.K.) , and a complete line of GC consumables.

With these relationships, we can offer you, the discerning chromatographer, complete GC systems, from consumables to GC instrumentation.

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