The microfluidic Deans switch: 50 years of progress, innovation and application

Khan M Sharif, Sung-Tong Chin, Chadin Kulsing, Philip Marriott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Innovation in flow switching in gas chromatography (GC) provided by the Deans switch (DS), introduced in the late 1960s, has had a lasting and significant impact on the practice of GC. Modifications and improvements have addressed flow switching mechanisms, device functionality, incorporation into multiple column geometries, and implementation of different operational modes. In a practical science such as GC, the methods and applications that are realised by innovations in the DS demonstrate the true breadth and depth of its impact on GC. These methods largely address improvements in separation of compounds in GC. Today, heart-cutting multidimensional GC and various methods in comprehensive two-dimensional GC rely on Deans switching for precise carrier gas flow control, considerations of switching 'speed', ideally inertness to analytes, and micro dimension channel flow. Different vendors' DS devices, and diverse uses of DS in GC make it an essential component in the GC toolbox.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-54
Number of pages20
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Deans switch
  • Flow switching
  • Heartcut
  • Microfluidics
  • Multidimensional gas chromatography
  • Pneumatic control

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