Why GC-MS is Ideal for Real-Time Process Gas Analysis
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a powerful analytical method used to analyze liquid, gaseous, or solid samples and identify substances within them. This tool is used in analytical chemistry labs worldwide and has an essential role in environmental analysis, fire investigation, pharmaceuticals, and many other industries. In gas analysis, GC-MS is used to separate complex mixtures, quantify analytes, and identify trace levels of contamination in a sample through vaporization. Throughout this blog post, we look at the working principle of GC-MS and its advantages for real-time gas analysis.
How Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) Works
GC-MS comprises two components: the gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer. The gas chromatograph is used to divide a mixture into individual components, and the mass spectrometer is used to identify and quantify them. Let’s look at how gas chromatography and mass spectrometry work when combined.
Combining Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry
When a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer work together, they enable a more comprehensive analysis of a sample. This works by connecting a GC column outlet on the chromatograph to the mass spectrometer's ion source. The liquid sample is vaporized, and an inert gas (the mobile phase) transports the sample through the column. While in the column, substances within the sample separate as they interact with the stationary phase and exit the column into the mass spectrometer, where their mass spectrum is recorded.
At the end of the process, the gas chromatograph produces a chromatogram - a graph that shows each separated substance as a peak. The peaks on the graph highlight how many separated compounds are present within the sample.
What is Real-Time Process Gas Analysis?
Real-time process gas analysis involves continuously monitoring and analyzing gases in industrial settings. This is carried out by measuring the concentration of various gases in real-time and must be conducted for safety, quality control, and efficiency purposes. Typical real-time process gas analysis applications include atmospheric monitoring, chemical synthesis, fuel cells, and process control in manufacturing industries.
Advantages of GC-MS for Real-Time Process Gas Analysis
Using GC-MS for gas analysis has several advantages, from identifying unknown compounds to equipment failure. Below, we look at some of these benefits in more detail.
Ability to Identify Unknown Compounds
GC-MS is used to identify unknown compounds in gas samples by analyzing their mass spectra. The gaseous sample is passed through a GC column to separate the analytes from each other. These separated components then go into the mass spectrometer, and the resulting mass spectra are analyzed and compared to known spectra within a database for identification.
Capability for Both Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
Conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis is essential in many areas, including real-time gas analysis, as knowing exactly what compound is present and how much of it determines whether the sample will negatively impact its environment. Qualitative analysis helps determine unknown gases in a sample by comparing them to known mixtures. On the other hand, quantitative measures what gases and how much of each are present in a specific environment.
High Sensitivity and Selectivity
One of the primary benefits of GC-MS is its high sensitivity. This analytical tool can identify and quantify compounds in a sample even at very low concentrations, which is especially useful for samples with trace amounts of a compound. Additionally, the high selectivity of this method enables GC-MS to differentiate between compounds by their mass and molecular structure.
Identify Safety Hazards
In industrial and laboratory environments, GC-MS is used to identify safety hazards such as gas leaks, high levels of combustible gases, and other dangerous chemicals that pose a risk to personnel and the workspace. GC-MS can identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air samples and monitor emissions from industrial processes, which help reduce exposure to dangerous substances and meet safety guidelines.
JEOL: Using GC-MS for Real-Time Process Gas Analysis
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry enhances qualitative and quantitative analysis for many health and safety purposes, and the equipment will become more valuable as technology advances. At JEOL, we are committed to manufacturing a range of equipment for scientific research and development. Our products include industrial, medical, and semiconductor equipment and scientific and metrology instruments. In addition, we provide processing, maintenance, and servicing of our products and their related components.
Our range of GC-MS is designed to meet a variety of customer needs through high performance and offering qualitative and quantitative research options for experienced and novice GC-MS users. JEOL’s gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
products include GC-QMS, GC-TQMS, GC-TOFMS, and a magnetic sector type MS to cover a wide range of applications.
Are you ready to reap the benefits of GC-MS? Contact a member of JEOL today, and let’s discuss your requirements.