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Cecil IonQuest 3 Ion Chromatography System

Cecil IonQuest 3 Ion Chromatography System


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Superb Performance Ion Chromatography

The completely new Ion Chromatography system from Cecil Instruments, the IonQuest, is a top performance modular system. 

This system come complete with

  • Isocratic pump,
  • Conductivity detector,
  • Data Stream software
  • Anion suppressor
  • Column heater
  • Guard column and columns.
  • 50 Position AutoQuest Autosampler with Rheodyne Valve and 20ul Loop

The conductivity cell is enclosed with a heat exchanger in a precisely thermostatted enclosure. The temperature of the enclosure is controlled to better than ±0.01ºC. The working temperature may be set by the operator to be between 25ºC and 50ºC and set with a default value of 35ºC during production testing.

Modular Flexibility

The system is easy to use by control panel operation, or by using the sophisticated Cecil PowerStream software for data acquisition, processing and reporting. Full system control is also provided by the workstation equipped with PowerStream. The modularity of the system enables its configuration to be changed with ease, for instance to use a UV/Visible detector. Modules may readily be replaced, to reduce down-time, should the need arise.

Precision Temperature Control

The eluent background conductivity changes by about 2% for a 1ºC change in temperature. The cell temperature controlled enclosure temperature may be set by the operator to avoid ambient changes causing drift. The default value is set at 35ºC and controlled to better than ±0.01ºC. Temperature compensation is not therefore required.

Pulse Free Pump

Mobile phase pumping is provided by a dual piston, digitally controlled, pump . Electronic feedback control virtually eliminates pulsing without using mechanical damping.

Column Oven

The very precisely temperature controlled oven accommodates Anion and Cation columns and precolumns, as well as a background suppressor cartridge with its over pressure protection valve. Close coupling to the detector provides high stability, low noise and low dispersion.

Leak Detector

A specially designed leak detection system is accommodated within the cell oven enclosure. The detection system may be used to shutdown the system if a leak is detected in the enclosure.

PowerStream Software

This software, developed by Cecil Instruments, provides system control and superb data processing, manipulation and reporting with truly unrivaled ease.

PowerStream is a chromatography management system developed by Cecil Instruments. Comprehensive data processing and full control of Cecil HPLC modules is provided.  PowerStream complies with the terms of 21 CFR part 11.

 PowerStream is easy to use, with a fully interactive graphical interface and display providing full method development with customised parameters, data capture and manipulation of data and chromatograms. A tutorial is included for clarity and rapid learning.

Complete Flexibility

The complete range of chromatographic applications may be undertaken. Pumps may be fully programmed for any required gradient and the gradient profile may be overlayed on stored chromatograms for accurate mixture or flow adjustments. Mid elution wavelength control of the programmable UV detector is provided. Calibration curves, using any number of standards, may be computed and plotted for each component of interest and may subsequently be used to determine the concentration of unknown samples.

For more information click here.


Detector Advanced Design

The CE4710 Conductivity Detector is an entirely new design from Cecil Instruments providing performance of the very highest order due to its exceptionally low noise and unrivalled baseline stability. To achieve this standard of performance a very low volume, 0.5µL, conductivity cell has been designed and is operated in a precisely thermostatted aluminium oven enclosure. A specially designed, low dispersion, heat exchanger, is also mounted in the cell enclosure preceding the detector cell. The exchanger stabilises the temperature of the mobile phase entering the cell. With the enclosed system controlled to better than ±0.01ºC superb performance is always available. Autozero and auto-range facilities are provided to ensure convenience of operation. Built-in diagnostics aids instrument evaluation and fault finding. The temperature controlled cell and heat exchanger enclosure is conveniently accessed from the side of the detector module, as shown in the photograph.

Detector Features

  • Full control by PowerStream software workstation
  • Keypad and LCD interface, for local operation, when required
  • Large memory for analytical methods
  • Autozero for operator convenience
  • Operator selectable cell temperature; default 35ºC
  • Leak detection system shutdown. Important for unattended operation.
  • Self diagnostics to confirm instrument function
  • Mounting facility for Rheodyne injection valve
  • Calculation of detector cell constant not required
  • Polarity switching

Chemically Suppressed Solvent Background

Sensitivity for the measurement of anions is greatly improved by reducing the conductivity of the eluent post column. An optional Anion Membrane Suppressor - SAMS - is available which is mounted in the column oven, in series with and after the analytical column. The suppressor may be used continuously and is regenerated by a Continuous Anion Regeneration System - CARS, which pumps the regeneration fluid through the post column suppressor cartridge. The suppressed solvent background conductivity leads to reduced drift and noise and therefore higher sensitivity for measurements is available.

Close Coupling to Oven

Close coupling of the detector to the oven is important in eliminating the effects of ambient temperature fluctuation on results. The couplers can be seen on the side of the detector. The cell compartment thermostatted enclosure is shown in the lower photograph, with the side cover removed for easy access.

Pump-Proven Performance

The Cecil CE4100 dual piston solvent delivery pump is well established as very reliable, convenient to use, with a very high performance specification. The microprocessor controlled pump uses a precise stepping motor drive for the dual overlapping pistons
which deliver solvent with very little pulsing.

Electronic feedback is used to control the pump speed during its cycle to reduce pulsing to a negligible level. No further mechanical pulse damping is required. Delivery of mobile phase in the range 0.2 - 2.5mL per minute, the usually used range, is well within the ability of the pump, which delivers in the range 0.001mL/min to 10mL/min. The wetted components of the pump are, sapphire, ruby and ceramic inserts.

The Total I C Concept

    • Dual overlapping piston pump
    • Microprocessor control for low pulsing
    • Chemically inert flow-path
    • Precisely thermostatted cell
    • Low dispersion heat exchanger
    • Dual column oven
    • Leak detection
    • PowerStream data processing
    • PowerStream system control
    • In line vacuum degassing
    • Regenerative chemical suppression
    • IC using UV detector
    • Suppressor cartridge in oven
    • Modular Flexibility

Convenient Column Oven

It is important that the separation columns should operate at a constant temperature, matching the temperature of the measuring cell. The CE4601C column oven module is a very convenient front opening design accommodating two analytical columns and precolumns and also, when needed, a mobile phase background conductivity suppressor cartridge and its over-pressure protection valve.

The oven operates over the range from ambient temperature +5ºC to 85ºC. The default temperature is set at 35ºC.

The actual and set temperatures are displayed by a bright LCD display and may be controlled by the adjacent keypad, or set by the PowerStream software. Temperature stability is better than ±0.01ºC.

The flow tubes from the columns and suppressor cartridge enter and leave the oven enclosure through convenient self-sealing ports. The output port to the cell thermostatted enclosure lines up with the input connector of the enclosure, when the modular system is arranged as shown in the photographs of the system.

The very close coupling to the detector cell leaves only about 2 centimetres of tube between the oven and the cell. With the cell and oven operated at the same temperature, say 35ºC, drift or noise due to ambient fluctuations is eliminated.

A column switching valve may be fitted to the oven offering convenient operation.

All the data processing procedures and power you need are elegantly available in PowerStream software. Digital system control is also available.

A typical display is shown below of a waste water cation analysis with a superimposed portion of the chromatogram highlighting sodium. Detail and clarity are excellent and the software is truly both easy to use and sophisticated.

A fully interactive graphical interface provides for full method development, data capture and display of chromatograms for live screen display during a run. Developed to operate with Windows XP and VISTA, it may also be used with Windows 2000.

Autosampler options:

50 Position AutoQuest Autosampler with Rheodyne Valve and 20ul Loop          12,995.00
100 Position AutoQuest Autosampler with Rheodyne Valve and 20ul Loop          14,495.00


PowerStream Features

  • Digital and analogue outputs
  • Process signals from multiple detectors
  • Comprehensive integration parameters
  • Calibration curves with unlimited number of standards


  • Linear, Quadratic and Cubic calibration curves
  • Chromatogram overlays
  • Bracketing of samples
  • Digital control of a range of peripherals

Anions in Drinking Water

The Anion Suppressor was used
Column: Allsep Anion 100 x 4.6 mm
Mobile Phase: 0.85 mmol / L NaHC03
0.90 mmol / L Na2CO3
Flow Rate: 1.2 mL / min
Injection Volume 20 µL
Column Temperature: 35 degrees C
Detector Temperature: 35 degrees C
Retention Time (mm:ss) Anion Measured concentration (ppm)
02:27 unknown -
03:49 Chloride -
04:57 unknown -
07:57 Nitrate 37
12:13 Phosphate -
14:01 Sulphate -

Inorganic Cations in Effluent Water

Column: Universal Cation 7µm 100 x 4.6 mm
Mobile Phase: 5 mmol Methanesulfonic acid
Flow Rate: 1.5 mL / min
Injection Volume 20 µL
Column Temperature: 35 degrees C
Detector Temperature: 35 degrees C
Retention Time (mm:ss) Cation Measured concentration (ppm)
01:54 Na+ 72.03
02:04 NH4+ 29.39
02:34 K+ 36.30
03:38 Mg2+ 6.47
4:17 Ca2+ 106.56

Phosphoric Acid in Soft Drinks

The established method for determination of Phosphoric Acid in cola beverages uses the molybdenum blue analysis. This spectrophotometric method is not however rapid.

An Ion Chromatography method was developed, in our applications laboratory, which is both rapid and accurate. The Cecil CE4715 suppressor was used to reduce background conductivity. This improved sensitivity with reduced noise and drift. The reduction was from about 500µS/cm to 20µS/cm. The flow rate of the eluent: 2 mM Na2CO3 / NaHCO3 buffer, was 1.3mL/min with a 7 micron anion column. The column oven and cell were both at 45ºC.

The determination of Phosphoric acid in a cola drink, as shown above, required under 5 minutes using a flow rate of 1.3 mL / min.

Conductivity Detector CE4710

Conductance Display Range 0.01 - 5000µS/cm
Output Signal Selectable for anions or cations
Time Constant 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 5s
Autozero Range Typically up to 10,000µS/cm
Synchronous Detection Frequency 5kHz
Noise Less than ±1nS/cm, DI water, 1mL/min, 2s
Drift Less than 20nS/cm/h, DI water, 1mL/min,
Cell Volume 0.5µL
Cell Body PEEK P1000 grade
Electrodes 316 stainless steel
Cell Pressure Rating 200psi
Cell Enclosure Heater 20 watt
Operating Temperature 25 - 50ºC; 35ºC standard
Temperature Precision ± 0.01ºC
Warm-up Time 10 minutes typical
LCD Screen 4 lines, back lit, adjustable contrast
Method Storage Up to 100 with password protection
Analogue Output 0-1V
Computer Interface RS232
Remote Autozero By contact closure
Digital Control By PowerStream software
Keypad Control For entry of values, commands and programmes

Pump CE4100

Pump Type Dual piston design
Flow Rate 0.001 to 10mL/min in 0.001 steps
Flow Reproducibility Better than 0.1%
Maximum Pressure 40MPa / 400 bar
User Interface 4 line back-lit display and full range of keys
Pressure Cut-outs Adjustable for over and low pressures
Pulsation Better than ±0.5% at 2mL/min
Flow Path Materials Ceramic, ruby, sapphire, PEEK

Column Oven

Number of Columns 2 plus suppressor cartridge
Pressure Cut-out Valve Accommodated Option
Temperature range Ambient +5ºC to 85ºC
Temperature Stability ±0.01ºC
Temperature Display 3 digit LCD display
Injection Valve
Rheodyne Valve PEEK flowpath, 100mL loop

Solvent Degasser

Degasser Optional In-line degasser
Number of Flow Paths Two, up to 3 mL/min each
Flow Path Material PTFE, PEEK

System Details

Power Requirements Total 110V or 240V, 50/60Hz, 200VA
Stack Size 365 x 290 x 470mm (WDH)
Cecil Instruments policy is one of continuous development. We therefore reserve the right to change specifications without notice.

Click here for Cecil white papers

DOWNLOAD:  IonQuest Ion Chromatography System Brochure


IonQuest C2
Isocratic IC System w/ Suppressed Conductivity Detector
• HPLC system with isocratic pump (0.001 to 10 mL/min in 0.001 steps)
• 5800 PSI Max Pressure, digital flow control, <0.1% RSD
• Conductivity Detector w/ 0.5ul thermostatted cell
• Rheodyne Valve w/ 20ul Loop
• Column Oven - Ambient to 80C (3 column capacity)
• PowerStream Chromatography Software
• Complete Installation Kit
 anion suppression accessory
IonQuest C3 Automatic Isocratic IC System w/ Suppressed Conductivity Detector          $28,970.00
• Same as IonQuest C2 with 50 Position Autosampler


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