Advanced GC, GC-MS, and GC-MS/MS systems have increased the resolution of difficult to extract compounds, low abundance organics, and analytes from complex matrices and materials. Analyses of pesticides and organic pollutants, for example, have seen dramatic improvements in sensitivity and accuracy, due to notable increases in ion efficiency, enhanced column and inlet/detector performance, backend data analysis, and other state-of-the-art innovations.


Several new GC technologies offer increased performance to continue these upward trends in enhanced resolution and efficiency – for both common and expanded or novel applications.


Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry

LECO has released the Pegasus GC-HRT+4D system for high-resolution GCxGC time-of flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS). 

  • Multidimensional GC is now common for analysis of petrochemicals, metabolomics, environmental, and consumer chemicals. Two GC columns connected in series produce orthogonal column chemistries and provide complex sample separation capabilities. The powerful GCxGC technique overcomes time-consuming or even impossible separations encountered using one-dimensional GC.
  • The Pegasus system employs Encoding Frequency Pushing (EFP) to improve the duty cycle for orthogonal accelerator TOF-MS, as well to increase sensitivity and expanded dynamic range.
  • High Resolution Deconvolution (HRD) deconvolutes and identifies important analytes in complex matrices.
  • The system provides resolution up to 50,000 FWHM mass accuracies, less than 1 ppm, and acquisition rate rates up to 200 spectra per second.

Agilent has added the 7250 GC-Q-TOF system to their repertoire of advanced analytical offerings.

  • This Q-TOF MS system offers full-spectrum, high-resolution, accurate-mass data capabilities for GC-amenable analytes. 
  • The electron ionization (EI) source offers low energy EI, for softer ionization and greater preservation of intact compounds for specific applications.
  • Highly efficient ionization combined with MassHunter’s Sure Mass algorithm provide accurate and sensitive spectra and high match scores – with decreased unknowns.
  • The Molecular Structure Correlator (MSC) software assists with chemical structure elucidation.
  • The 7250 uses Agilent’s core Mass Hunter software to enable screening, profiling, discovery workflows and more.
  • The MS system supports thermally modulated comprehensive GCxGC, via collaboration with ZOEX corporation.

Gas Chromatography

Perkin Elmer released the Clarus 690 GC system as a fully automated gas chromatograph with programmable pneumatic control (PPC).

  • The system has fast column heat up and cool down capabilities, with heat up rates up to 140 °C/min and cool down of less than 2 min from 450 °C to 50 °C. 
  • The system provides for up to 12 pneumatic control zones controlling: four inlet, four detector, and four auxiliary gas channels. 
  • A full range of inlets and detectors is available as is an optional built-in 108-well liquid autosampler for flexible and high-throughput analysis.
  • GC control is accomplished using either Perkin Elmer’s TotalChrom or TurboMass software or Waters Empower 3.
  • The Clarus supports the TurboMatrix headspace, automated thermal desorption (ATD), and Multiprep samplers and sample preparation accessories.

Gas Chromatography - Sample Preparation

GC sample preparation includes stratifying the sample by removing background and contaminating compounds. Preparation of the sample such that the species can be ionized and ultimately analyzed by the GC or GC-MS instrument is also essential. Although analytes of interest often entail analysis in a distinct phase, many of the techniques used for liquid chromatography (LC) sample prep translate to GC sample prep as well.

Solid Phase Extraction (SPE), Solid Liquid Extraction (SLE), Liquid Liquid Extraction, QuEChERS Extraction and others all serve roles in both LC and GC sample preparation protocols. Of course, GC involves gas phase analysis, and sample prep must include techniques to vaporize, enrich, and analyze volatile compounds via the GC system.


  • The Perkin Elmer TurboMatrix MultiPrep Autosamplers provide long-rail options for extended sample capacity and the ability to perform Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME), Syringe Headspace, and Liquid Handling all in one instrument.
  • Phenomenex produces the Zebron line of GC columns and consumables – building on a 25+ year legacy of GC solutions. The latest offering, Zebron ZB-FAME, enhances fat and oil testing with fast run times (11 min) and improved resolutions of cis/trans isomers and C18 chain molecules. The Phenomenex GC column finder web app allows searches based on application, manufacturer, part number, of official method – a valuable resource.
  • The Shimadzu TD-30 Series Thermal Desorption Unit is an ideal solution for gas and materials analysis. The unit has outstanding processing ability, simple functionality, and expanded sample capacity (60 to 120 depending on models). Overlapping and uninterrupted functioning means that subsequent samples can be pretreated during GC analysis – and unscheduled samples can be run without breaking the flow of scheduled analyses. Advanced engineering lends to excellent capabilities for air quality measurement, VOCs in manufacturing, odors in product packaging and many more demanding applications. 

Summary

Many more GC and GC/MS solutions continue to fill the market pipeline, making this analytical approach more relevant and powerful than ever. Testing parameters such as updated food safety criteria, increased stringency of environmental testing, even cannabinoid and terpenoid analyses, will continue to benefit from a constant stream of new products and innovations.


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