A novel polymer-grafted stationary phase of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was developed, utilizing a temperature-responsive polymer containing an aromatic moiety. Firstly, we synthesized novel functional polymer poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N-acryloyl-3-(2-naphthyl)- l-alanine methyl ester) [poly(NIPAAm-co-Nap)], which has temperature-responsiveness and selective retention of aromatic compounds by an intermolecular π-π interaction. The polymer exhibited a significant reversible phase transition from hydrophilic to hydrophobic in the vicinity of its lower critical solution temperature. Employing the developed polymer-grafted silica column, temperature-responsive chromatography was conducted using water as a sole mobile phase. A comparison with a conventional ODS column or a homogeneous PNIPAAm-grafted silica column showed that the retention of aromatic compounds was dramatically increased on the poly(NIPAAm-co-Nap)-grafted stationary phase. Introducing the naphthyl-alanine derivative caused a significant effect on the retention selectivity for aromatic compounds.
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