The 2012 Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) was held 11–15 March, in Orlando,
Florida, USA, at the Orange County Convention Centre. The 63rd annual occurrence of this venerable analytical chemists' symposium
was only slightly less attended than the conference's 2010 southern sojourn at the same location, with 15754 registrants.
I'm comparing the attendance to that at the previous Orlando venue rather than Atlanta from 2011 because the attendance always
has been somewhat lower when the conference heads south. The amount of exhibitor booth space also declined by a similar margin,
driven by many companies' decisions to attend with a smaller footprint, although the total number of exhibiting companies
only dropped by about 2%.
Significantly absent this year were Agilent and PerkinElmer, which are both engaging in post-conference seminar tours and
on-line product displays. Both companies exhibited at Analytica in Münich, Germany, 17–20 April, 2012. Several companies opted
for nearby hotel suites to meet key customers at rather than hosting an in-exhibition booth. To an aisle wanderer such as
myself, the overall impression was one of reduced acreage accompanied by a larger Technology Park area and, although I did
not measure them, perhaps slightly wider corridors. Smaller though it may have been, the exhibit floor experience was almost
relaxed, with more time to visit each exhibitor of interest, unlike some earlier years where I often had to choose between
visiting a booth or attending a session.
The conference organizers' emphasis on the technical programme was evident in the consistent number of poster sessions that
were mounted in two large areas of the exhibition floor, as well as in the continuing high count of oral presentations, symposia
and workshops. Short-course attendance was up 16% from last year.
Among the conferees, 36% listed liquid chromatography (LC) and 34% gas chromatography (GC) among their selected scientific
specialties; these were the top two categories at the conference. Spectroscopic specialties accounted for the majority of
the remaining mentions; ion chromatography was cited by 11%, and other chromatography techniques were cited by 7%.
Pittcon 2013 will be held in Philadelphia for the first time, 17–21 March, at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre. The conference
is scheduled to return to Chicago (2014, 2017), New Orleans (2015) and Atlanta (2016), before returning to Orlando in 2018.
Table 1: Companies listed.
This instalment is our annual review of GC instrumentation and accessories shown at this year's Pittcon or introduced during
the previous year. For a review of new GC and LC chromatography columns and related accessories, please see Ron Majors' "Column
Watch" in the April and May 2012 issues of LCGC North America, which are also available on-line at
The information presented here is based on manufacturers' replies to questionnaires, as well as on additional information
from manufacturers' press releases, websites and product literature, and not upon my actual use or experience. During Pittcon,
I took time to stroll around the convention aisles and see some of the new products firsthand, as well as discover a number
of items that weren't covered by the questionnaires. Every effort has been made to collect accurate information, but because
of the preliminary nature of some of the material LCGC Europe cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. This column cannot be considered a complete record of all new GC products
introduced this year at Pittcon or elsewhere because not all manufacturers chose to respond to the questionnaire, nor is all
of the submitted information necessarily included here because of the limited available space and the editors' judgment as
to its suitability.