Past, present, and future developments in enantioselective analysis using capillary electromigration techniques

Nicky de Koster, Charles P. Clark, Isabelle Kohler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Enantioseparation of chiral products has become increasingly important in a large diversity of academic and industrial applications. The separation of chiral compounds is inherently challenging and thus requires a suitable analytical technique that can achieve high resolution and sensitivity. In this context, CE has shown remarkable results so far. Chiral CE offers an orthogonal enantioselectivity and is typically considered less costly than chromatographic techniques, since only minute amounts of chiral selectors are needed. Several CE approaches have been developed for chiral analysis, including chiral EKC and chiral CEC. Enantioseparations by EKC benefit from the wide variety of possible pseudostationary phases that can be employed. Chiral CEC, on the other hand, combines chromatographic separation principles with the bulk fluid movement of CE, benefitting from reduced band broadening as compared to pressure-driven systems. Although UV detection is conventionally used for these approaches, MS can also be considered. CE-MS represents a promising alternative due to the increased sensitivity and selectivity, enabling the chiral analysis of complex samples. The potential contamination of the MS ion source in EKC-MS can be overcome using partial-filling and counter-migration techniques. However, chiral analysis using monolithic and open-tubular CEC-MS awaits additional method validation and a dedicated commercial interface. Further efforts in chiral CE are expected toward the improvement of existing techniques, the development of novel pseudostationary phases, and establishing the use of chiral ionic liquids, molecular imprinted polymers, and metal-organic frameworks. These developments will certainly foster the adoption of CE(-MS) as a well-established technique in routine chiral analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-57
Number of pages20
Issue number1-2
Early online date11 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Young and Inspiring Scientists in Electrophoresis.


  • CE-MS
  • Chiral analysis
  • Chiral CEC
  • Chiral electrokinetic chromatography
  • Enantioselective separation


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