Leslie S. Ettre | Authors


The Saga of the Electron-Capture Detector

In addition to the universal detectors used in gas chromatography (GC), selective detectors have also played an important role in the rapid spreading of the utilization of the technique. Probably the most important selective GC detector is the electron-capture detector, with a very high sensitivity to organic compounds containing chlorine and fluorine atoms in their molecules. The electron-capture detector had a vital role in environmental protection and control - its use helped to prove the ubiquitous presence of chlorinated pesticides in nature and halocarbons in our atmosphere, and made us aware of the global extent of pollution. It was the electron-capture detector that made concentration ranges of parts-per-billion (ppb: 1:109) or even parts-per-trillion (ppt: 1:1012) detectable. Today, these terms are used routinely without realising how formidable such a sensitivity really is: 1 ppb means that a spaceship (or a UFO, depending upon one's inclination) could pick up a particular family of six from..

More Speed, Better Precision, Higher Sensitivity: Why Buy a New Gas Chromatograph?

This article is an adaptation of one written in the German publication Nachrichten aus der Chemie and discusses how gas chromatography instrumentation, columns and techniques have improved over the past 10–15 years, making even relatively new equipment obsolete for many applications. In particular, the authors look at how older equipment is unsuitable for fast GC, better trace analysis and comprehensive multidimensional GC.

The Evolution of the Application of Gas Chromatography

In another of Ettre's historical examinations of the early days of gas chromatography, he discusses four major application fields in which the technique changed the way chemists perform analyses. These include hydrocarbon analysis, fatty acid analysis, flavour compounds and essential oils analysis, and environmental analysis. In addition, he also explains how GC helped in the evolution of liquid chromatography and in the development of the scientific industry.