Chromatography makes use of a mobile phase and a stationary phase. The stationary phase remains static or fixed (column, paper, etc) as the mobile phase moves over the stationary phase. The sample or the mixture is dissolved in the mobile phase.

The components of the sample carried by the mobile phase, get separated based on their difference in the affinity for the mobile phase and the solid phase. The sample or the mixture that has been separated into individual components is called an analyte.