Is the Number of Peaks in a Chromatogram Always Less Than the Peak Capacity?
The term “peak capacity” has a long history in separation science. Eli Grushka worked on peak capacity and helped clarify the meaning across a number of applications in chromatography and other separations techniques. In this chapter, we ask a simple question: Is the number of maxima in a chromatogram always less than the peak capacity at unit resolution?” This question is answered through two means. The first is based on an analysis of simulated chromatograms containing single component peaks (SCPs) having different distributions of height and different distributions of time between successive SCPs. The second means is based on statistical overlap theory (SOT) which is reviewed in this chapter. Results show that the number of maxima in a model chromatogram usually is less than the peak capacity at unit resolution, with exceptions occurring when equally or nearly equally spaced SCPs of equal or similar height are greater in number than the peak capacity by a factor of one to two.