A hand portable, field-deployable thin-layer chromatography (TLC) unit and a hand portable, battery-operated unit for development, illumination, and data acquisition of the TLC plates contain many miniaturized features that permit a large number of samples to be processed efficiently. The TLC unit includes a solvent tank, a holder for TLC plates, and a variety of tool chambers for storing TLC plates, solvent, and pipettes. After processing in the TLC unit, a TLC plate is positioned in a collapsible illumination box, where the box and a CCD camera are optically aligned for optimal pixel resolution of the CCD images of the TLC plate. The TLC system includes an improved development chamber for chemical development of TLC plates that prevents solvent overflow.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.