Liquid Chromatography Blog

Back-to-Basics #5: Tailing

This technical article shows how excessive peak tailing is an indication that something is wrong and how it is a good idea to include a measure of peak tailing as part of the system suitability measurements.

Peak tailing is most commonly measured in one of the two ways. In the pharmaceutical industry, the tailing factor, TF, is used. This may also be referred to as the USP tailing factor or the EP tailing factor, for the United States Pharmacopoeia or European Pharmacopoeia , two of the regulatory bodies generating guidelines for pharmaceutical HPLC methods. The tailing factor is determined by drawing a perpendicular line from the peak centre to the baseline of the peak. Then the peak width and the front half-width are measured for the peak at 5% of the height of the peak. The tailing factor is simply the entire peak width divided by twice the front half-width. For a perfectly Gaussian peak, the front half-width will be exactly half the entire peak width, so the tailing factor will be 1.0.

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