Discover the fastest, easiest, and most economical way to optimize IC separations.

Why optimize IC the hard way?

Seeking the best column and separation conditions for an IC analysis used to be a gamble. You had to guess where to start and which parameters to vary, never sure if you were headed in the right direction. You had to spend hours generating chromatograms, consuming samples and eluents while tying up your instrument and putting wear and tear on your pump, autosampler, and column.

Fast, risk-free optimization

The Virtual Column™ Separation Simulator eliminates the risks and hassles in optimizing IC separations by modeling their behavior in software, using known retention data and IC-specific retention algorithms. Specify the analytes you want to separate, choose the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ column and eluent system you want to model, and the Virtual Column Separation Simulator can find and display the optimal separation, together with a resolution map indicating the eluent concentration(s) required.

Based on the columns and conditions selected, you can view the predicted analyte separation (Chromeleon 7 CDS shown).

Easy answers to challenging questions

Want to shorten the run time, balance the separation of the peaks, or resolve a pair of difficult peaks? Simply click a command to find the conditions that will yield the fastest chromatogram with acceptable resolution, or the best spread of the peaks, or the best resolution of two specific peaks.

On the resolution response plot you can instantly gauge the effect of conditions on resolution (Chromeleon 7 shown).

Solutions to cover your application needs

The Virtual Column Separation Simulator models all of the most popular Dionex anion-exchange and cation-exchange columns, using retention data for hundreds of analytes—you don't spend any time "training" the software. Use the Virtual Column Separation Simulator in the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ Chromeleon™ 7.2 Chromatography Data System (CDS) software’s powerful Application Wizard and generate the exact Control Program and Quantification method for your newly developed separation.

Develop gradient separations as easily as isocratic separations

Gradient separations can greatly increase the capability and performance of ion chromatography, but until recently, only experts were willing to try them. Now with a Virtual Column Complete license and Reagent-Free™ IC (RFIC™) systems, everyone can take advantage of the power of gradient ion chromatography. A few minutes invested into modeling your application under gradient conditions could save you hundreds of hours per year.

Optimize separation of your specific analytes

When sulfite is added to the standard anions, it co-elutes with phosphate under standard separation conditions.
In just a few seconds, the Virtual Column simulator finds conditions that separate all analytes with baseline resolution.

Speed up your separations

Standard separation conditions for the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ IonPac™ AS15 column yield excellent resolution of standard anions and thiosulfate, but result in an analysis time of over 36 min.
On the resolution response plot you can instantly gauge the effect of conditions on resolution (Chromeleon 7 shown).

Isolate a specific peak of interest

The Virtual Column simulator quickly reveals that baseline resolution of this set of analytes cannot be achieved with the Dionex IonPac CS12A column—potentially saving hours or days of futile effort.
If the analytical need is to quantify a particular analyte, the Virtual Column simulator quickly finds the conditions that maximize resolution of the key analyte from other species.


Workstation or client station with Chromeleon CDS, version 6.6 or higher. Gradient simulations requires Chromeleon CDS, version 6.7 or higher.


Anions: IonPac™ AS4A-SC, AS9-HC, AS10, AS11,AS11-HC, AS12A, AS14, AS14A, AS15, AS16, AS17, AS18, AS19, AS20, AS22, AS24 Cations: CS12A, CS16, CS17, CS18 Carbohydrates: CarboPac™ PA20

Methodologies (traditional and Reagent-Free™)

Anions: gradient hydroxide, isocratic hydroxide, isocratic carbonate/bicarbonate Cations: gradient methanesulfonic acid (MSA), isocratic MSA Carbohydrates: isocratic hydroxide

Optimization Criteria

Minimum resolution, normalized resolution product, optimize for specific analyte


Find fastest chromatogram, find global optimum, apply product test conditions.

User-Editable Peak Values

Area, asymmetry, theoretical plates

Additional Variables

Operating temperature, flow rate, void volume


An unlimited number of optimization projects can be saved, loaded, modified, and resaved.