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A Toolkit to Quantify Target Compounds in Thin Layer Chromatography Experiments

revised on 05.10.2018, 20:41 and posted on 05.10.2018, 20:42 by Stuart Ibsen, Niamh Mac Fhionnlaoich, Luis Serrano, Alaric Taylor, Runzhang Qi, Stefan Guldin
Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is one of the basic experimental procedures in chemistry and allows the demonstration of various chemical principles in an educational setting. An often-overlooked aspect of TLC is the capability to quantify isolated target compounds in an unknown sample. Here, we present a suitable route to implement quantitative analysis in a lesson plan. We provide a free, stand-alone software that allows students to obtain quantitative information and present two suitable experiments, namely the absorbance-based quantification of the colorant Sudan IV and the fluorescence-based quantification of Rhodamine 6G, a fluorophore widely used in biotechnology. Students conduct TLC experiments following established routes, then take pictures of their TLC plates with their mobile phones and finally quantify the amount of different compounds in the separate bands they observe.


This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 633635 (DIACHEMO). NMF is grateful for financial support by the EPSRC under a Doctoral Training Partnership.


Email Address of Submitting Author


University College London


United Kingdom

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest.

Version Notes

Updated to include final qTLC software files.


Read the published paper

in Journal of Chemical Education