Do your peaks need couples therapy?
Nothing a little personality assessment can’t handle!
There are a few possible causes for such troubled peaks and, luckily, a few ways to overcome them.
Problem #1: pH of the mobile phase is close to the pKa of a functional group on the compound, or inadequately buffered.
Solution #1: Adjust the mobile phase pH +/- 2 units above or below the pKa of the compound’s ionizable functional group, and buffer at that pH with an appropriate buffer (of sufficient buffer capacity to ensure the pH is controlled to the desired pH).
Problem #2: A physical blockage is obstructing the flow path.
Solution #2: Preventative measures such as filtering the samples prior to injection and/or using a guard cartridge to protect the column are the best steps to take.
Problem #3: There’s a void or channel in the column.
Solution #3: Discard column and replace with a new one. A void or channel in the column packing bed cannot be repaired or regenerated. If this occurred prematurely (expected column lifetime is quite application-specific), consider the mobile phase components, backpressures, and sample to confirm if the running conditions are within the tolerances of the particular column.
With these simple troubleshooting steps, you’ll be sending your peak on a second honeymoon!