The TLC Scanner 4 is the most advanced workstation for densitometric evaluation of TLC/HPTLC chromatograms and other planar objects.

About TLC Scanner 4

All functions of the scanner are controlled by the winCATS software. Only positioning of the object to be measured is performed manually and, If desired, switching on the internal illumination to assist correct positioning. Optimal settings of the electronic amplification are automatically selected for scanning in absorbance or fluorescence mode respectively.

The 16 bit A/D converter ensures optimally adapted resolution of the measurement signal.

Key features

  • Measurement of reflection, either in absorbance or fluorescence mode
  • Object formats up to 20 x 20 cm
  • Spectral range from 190 to 900 nm
  • Automatic start of all lamps: deuterium, halogen-tungsten, and highpressure mercury lamp
  • Data step resolution 25–200 μm
  • Scanning speed 1–100 mm/s
  • Spectrum recording up to 100 nm/s
  • Automatic selection of electronic amplification
  • Rapid data transfer

Perfect evaluation with winCATS

The Planar Chromatography Manager winCATS organizes all steps of instrumental thin-layer chromatography from sample application through quantitative evaluation.

The well-structured and easy to use software controls all functions of the TLC Scanner and processes all measuring data up to the final result. The winCATS standard program for TLC Scanner 4 comprises scanning the chromatogram with subsequent integration, computing results, and printout of the analysis protocol with details in the form of colored graphics as required by the user. Also spectra recording is included in the standard program.

A number of winCATS program options allow users to adapt the evaluation system to their needs.

The following options are available:

  • Quantitative evaluation supports: Single level calibration and multi-level calibration with linear or nonlinear regression using internal or external standards. Statistics as relative standard deviation (cv) or confidence interval (ci). Subcomponent evaluation supporting quantitation of unknown peaks by relating them to the main component as is prescribed by European or US pharmacopoeias (“Related Compounds”).
  • Dual-wavelength scan: The chromatogram is scanned at two freely selectable wavelengths. During integration the signal from the second wavelength is subtracted from that of the first wavelength to eliminate matrix effects. Dual-wavelength scanning is also useful for the quantitation of incompletely resolved peaks.
  • Multi-wavelength scan: The chromatogram can be scanned automatically with up to 36 selectable wavelengths between 190 and 900 nm. For quantitation, data from the scan at the optimum wavelength for each compound is used. This winCATS function is unique to thin-layer chromatography!
  • Track optimization: Each track of the chromatogram is scanned several times with a small lateral offset. From this data the optimum virtual track following the peak maxima is calculated and used for quantitation.
  • Scanner qualification (selftest): This option offers automatic monitoring of the mechanical, optical and electronic functions of the scanner. Results are evaluated, documented and stored. When appropriate, lamp positions and monochromator alignment are automatically adjusted.


The object, here a 20 x 10 cm HPTLC plate, is conveniently positioned on the scanning table which then automatically moves to the start position.

The coordinates are displayed during manual positioning and can be transferred into the program by mouse click.

Detected peaks are displayed with substance names. In this step baseline and peak markers can be changed manually.

Substance assignement: each peak is automatically assigned to its optimum wavelength before evaluation.

Polynomial regression

The Optical System

Optical System
Optical System
  • Any of the three light sources, high pressure mercury lamp, deuterium lamp, or halogen-tungsten lamp can be positioned in the light path by a motor drive. (Nr. 1)

  • The signal of the measuring photomultiplier is continuously offset against the signal of the reference photomultiplier. (Nr. 4,5)
    This compensates for lamp aging and short-time fluctuations. It also reduces the warm-up time required to reach lamp stabilization.

  • All components of the optical system, lamps, monochromator, scanning stage, and photomultiplier are mounted on one sturdy metal support. This ensures high precision of the detector signal.

  • For scanning at wavelengths below 200 nm it is advisable to flush the monochromator with nitrogen. The scanner is equipped to do this.

  • A monochromator bandwidth of 5 nm or 20 nm can be selected. 5 nm bandwidth is used for spectra recording, multi-wavelength scanning, and when spectral selectivity is required. (Nr. 2) 20 nm bandwidth offers higher light intensity (improves the signalto-noise ratio and thus the reproducibility of the measurement) and enables measurement of several fractions with slightly different absorption maxima in one scan.

  • The lens system with 190 – 900 nm transmission range features automatic positioning for micro and macro slit sizes. This ensures that the light energy available with small slits in the micro position is almost the same as that for the corresponding slit in the macro position, which is four times larger. (Nr. 3)

  • The light beam strikes the object at right angle. The photomultiplier is aligned at an angle of 30°. (Nr. 5)

Technical specifications

Light sources
Deuterium lamp, usable continuum 190 – 450 nm

• Halogen-tungsten lamp, usable continuum 350 – 900 nm
• High-pressure mercury lamp, line spectrum 254 – 578 nm

The lamp, which is positioned in the light path, is automatically ignited.
All lamps are current stabilized.

Pilot lamp and compartment illumination
The slit is automatically illuminated with visible light when the compartment illumination is switched on. The scanning compartment is illuminated with a 4 watt  fluorescent tube UV 254 nm which the user can replace by a UV 366 nm or a white light tube.

Concave holographic grating, 1200 lines/mm, bandwidth selectable 5 or 20 nm, wavelength range 190 – 900 nm; monochromator driven by stepper motor, reproducibility of wavelength setting better than 0.2 nm, accuracy better than 1 nm; connector for flushing with nitrogen.

Maximum speed of spectra recording 100 nm/s, positioning at 200 nm/s.

Secondary filter
Motor-driven filter wheel with three automatically selected filters for the elimination of second order wavelengths; 400 nm cut-off filter for fluorescence measurements; three positions for user selected filters.

Scanning slit
Revolving disk with 20 fi xed apertures; length of slit images selectable between 0.2 and 12 mm, width between 0.1 and 1.2 mm in 42 combinations.

Two matched broad band photo multipliers, multi alkali type, spectral sensitivity 185 – 900 nm.

Stage drive
Independent in both directions by stepper motors, micro step driven for smooth movement; reproducibility of positioning better than 50 μm in Y-direction, better than 100 μm in X-direction; maximum scanning speed 100 mm/s, positioning at 150 mm/s.

Mains voltage
115 V and 230 V selectable; 50/60 Hz; maximum energy use 180 W (tungsten and mercury lamp ignited).

A/D converter
16 bit, 2-channel A/D converter, 100 ms per double conversion.

Serial interface RS232 for communication to the computer, EquiLink for connection to winCATS software.

W x D x H: 590 x 650 x 367 mm

39 kg

Ordering information TLC Scanner 4


CAMAG TLC SCANNER 4 for scanning by absorbance and fluorescence, equipped for objects up to 200 × 200 mm, wavelength range 190 – 900 nm, complete with deuterium lamp, tungstenhalogen lamp, and mercury vapor lamp, including Equilink (027.6312) to winCATS, but without winCATS license.

winCATS Software and options

027.6300 winCATS license including one year of internet update service
027.6315 Quantitative chromatogram evaluation
027.6342 Spectrum library
027.6344 Track optimization
027.6346 Dual-wavelength scan
027.6348 Multi-wavelength scan
027.6340 Scanner selftest
027.6380 21 CFR Part 11 “compliance ready”


CAMAG TLC Scanner 4, complete system

CAMAG TLC Scanner 4, for scanning by absorbance and fl uorescence, equipped for objects up to 200 × 200 mm, wavelength range 190 – 900 nm, complete with deuterium lamp, tungsten-halogen lamp, and mercury vapor lamp
Equilink to establish a 2-way communication between the scanner and winCATS
winCATS license including one year of internet update service
winCATS option “Quantitative chromatogram evaluation”
winCATS option “Scanner selftest”

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