As analysts enquire further into the complexity of their samples, powerful separation techniques become an important asset. The ability (or lack thereof) of conventional one-dimensional separations such as liquid and gas chromatography to resolve complicated mixtures was described in detail by Giddings and others in the 1980s. At this point the development of multidimensional separation techniques began to accelerate. These techniques can offer up to an order of magnitude greater peak capacity than conventional chromatographic methods. Today, multidimensional separation methods are used widely throughout many fields in both industry and academia. This review focuses on comprehensive multidimensional techniques in gas and liquid chromatography. Fundamental aspects of the techniques, modulation technology and recent applications in fields that frequently use the technology will be discussed. Multidimensional separation techniques are here to stay and will undoubtedly play increasingly important role in the analysis of complex chemical samples for years to come.
Keywords: Comprehensive multidimensional separations, comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography, comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography, environmental, flavours and fragrances, instrumentation.