A stationary phase based on poly(1-vinylimidazole)-grafted silica has been prepared by the surface radical chain-transfer reaction. The stationary phase was characterized by infrared spectra, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and elemental analysis. Chromatographic characteristics of the stationary phase were investigated in normal-phase HPLC. The results showed that both weak polar compounds (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dialkyl phthalates) and polar compounds (anilines, phenols) could be successfully separated on this stationary phase, implying better separation performance than blank silica and conventional aminopropyl-bonded silica under the same conditions. The excellent performance can be attributed to multiple interactions between surface modifier and the analytes that might include dipole, hydrogen bonding, H-π, electrostatic and inductive interactions.