Why are Clear Vials Preferred for Chromatography?
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Why are Clear Vials Preferred for Chromatography?

May. 5th, 2023
Chromatography is an indispensable technique used for the analysis and separation of complex mixtures across many fields, such as pharmaceuticals, environmental analysis, and forensics.

Selecting an appropriate vial for chromatography is crucial to producing accurate and reproducible results; clear vials are generally preferred due to their superior light transmission properties, improved sample visibility, and compatibility with wider solvent ranges resulting in enhanced peak resolution.

This article will explore why clear vials are chosen over amber vials when performing chromatography as well as explore any possible negative consequences associated with using amber vials in this regard.

Clear Vials and Amber Vials Comparison

Clear vials are composed of colorless borosilicate glass while amber vials contain iron oxide to add an amber hue, decreasing light transmission properties and sample visibility. By comparison, clear vials have excellent light transmission properties making it easier for analysis purposes; additionally, they're compatible with more solvents compared to amber vials.

4 Reasons Why Clear Vials Are Preferred in Chromatography

Clear Vials Are Superior at Light Transmission

Essential in detecting and identifying components of a sample--due to their colorless nature, which allows maximum light transmission for improved signal-to-noise ratios and detection limits. Amber-colored vials reduce light transmission properties which may result in decreased sensitivity during chromatography analysis.

Clear Vials Offer Improved Sample Visibility

Clear vials offer better sample visibility, which is essential in evaluating the quality of any sample being analyzed. Their colorless nature allows for easier observation of samples analyzed; leading to improved analysis and results. Amber-colored amber vials reduce visibility leading to inaccurate analysis results.

Compatibility with a Broad Range of Solvents

Clear vials can accommodate a wider variety of solvents than amber vials due to the absence of iron oxide, which reacts with certain solvents and leads to the contamination of samples. Clear vials allow more flexibility when performing analyses as they can use with multiple solvents.

Clear Vials Provide Improved Chromatography Peak Resolution

Clear vials offer better chromatography peak resolution compared to amber vials due to their colorless nature, which allows maximum light transmission, leading to improved peak resolution chromatography results. In comparison, amber vials typically exhibit reduced light transmission properties that lead to decreased peak-resolution chromatography results.

Impact of Amber Vials on Chromatography

Amber vials used for chromatography can have numerous negative repercussions on analysis and results, as their reduced light transmission properties and decreased sample visibility can lead to inaccurate analysis and results. Furthermore, the iron oxide found within amber vials may interact with certain solvents to cause contamination of samples and inaccurate analysis and results.

Select the Appropriate Vial for Each Application

Proper vial selection is essential in achieving accurate and reproducible chromatography results. When choosing a vial material, one should take into account compatibility between it and its use in analysis, sample material, solvents used, and desired light transmission/visibility requirements - particularly relevant when analyzing colorless samples like pharmaceuticals or natural products.

Future Developments in Vial Materials

Current vial materials have some drawbacks, including reduced light transmission and limited solvent compatibility. Future advances in vial materials aim to overcome these limitations and enhance chromatography results, including the use of coated vials (designed to improve surface characteristics and decrease interactions between sample and vial) or plastic vials with superior durability and increased solvent compatibility compared with glass vials; however plastic vials typically offer lower light transmission properties compared with glass ones which could compromise the accuracy of the analysis.


Clear vials are the ideal choice for chromatography due to their superior light transmission properties, enhanced sample visibility, and compatibility with a wider variety of solvents. Amber vials may lead to inaccurate results due to reduced light transmission properties, decreased sample visibility, potential contamination issues, and potential for sample loss. Therefore, selecting appropriate vials for chromatography results is key in order to guarantee accurate and reproducible analysis - future developments in vial materials aim at addressing existing limitations while further increasing the accuracy of results in this field.

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