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Using anything but a diamond- or sapphire-bladed tool to cleave fused-silica tubing can cause systemic failure in your nanobore flow path?
Following are a few tools we've actually seen used on fused silica, and the resulting damage they can cause...
Proper cleaving of fused-silica tubing is a critical but often overlooked operation in the preparation of emitters and columns prior to use. A flat, smooth cleave is essential for maintaining low dead volume connections with other sections of fused-silica tubing. It is also critical that cleaving does not generate flow-stopping particulate matter. Cleaving is best accomplished with a high-quality diamond chip or blade cleaving tool. New Objective’s diamond-blade cleaving tools, shown in Figure 1, have been selected to provide a consistent, flat cleave with a minimum of particulate generation. Inexpensive carbide scribing tools and ceramic wafers are not recommended, since they generally result in poor-quality (i.e., ragged) cleaved end faces that generate many fine particles.
WARNING: Handling of fused-silica tubing and emitters can result in serious personal injury, including skin and eye injury. Use safety glasses or goggles meeting ANSI Z87.1-1989 requirements or the equivalent. Puncture- and chemical-resistant gloves should be worn at all times.
Inspection of the distal end of the tip for a flat end and/or particle contamination using a light microscope with transmitted light at 100x magnification is highly recommended. Leaving a burr (or "tang") will cause particulate generation when tubing is inserted into standard capillary connectors.