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John V. Hinshaw is senior staff engineer at Serveron Corp., Hillsboro, Oregon, and a member of LCGC's editorial advisory board. Direct correspondence about this column to "GC Connections," LCGC, Woodbridge Corporate Plaza, 485 Route 1 South, Building F, First Floor, Iselin, NJ 08830, e-mail LCGCedit@ubm.com. For an ongoing discussion of GC issues with John Hinshaw and other chromatographers, visit the Chromatography Forum discussion group at http://www.chromforum.com.
John Hinshaw presents his annual review of GC instruments and accessories that were newly on display at Pittcon in March 2014, or were introduced to the marketplace in the preceding year.
In this "GC Connections" instalment, I review gas chromatography (GC) instruments and accessories that were newly on display at the Pittsburgh Conference in March 2014, or were introduced to the marketplace in the preceding year.
The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) returned to Chicago's McCormick Place for its 65th annual meeting on 2–6 March 2014. This year, more than 16,200 conferees and exhibitor personnel attended Pittcon and the co-hosted Food Labs Conference. More than 36% were listed as first-time attendees, but the published statistics did not differentiate between Pittcon and Food Labs registrants. The exposition floor sited 935 exhibitors in a total of 1763 booths; 32 countries were represented. As was the case in 2013 in Philadelphia, the exhibition floor proved easier to navigate than in earlier conferences. This did not seem to be related to the size of the conference, which has not varied by more than about 10% in recent years, but rather the layout was well organized with many booths positioned in logical groups.
The technical programme was of high quality with 73 symposia, 10 awards, 84 oral sessions, plus posters and workshops making up a total of 2000 technical sessions. Emphasis was clearly on life science topics, which constituted 40% of the presentations. The short course program continued its high activity with 116 offerings.
Pittcon will journey to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in 2015 — a welcome respite from two consecutive years in colder northern locations. Heading to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 2016, conferees will enjoy a couple years of Southern hospitality until the conference swings back to Chicago, USA, in 2017.
This annual "GC Connections" instalment reviews gas chromatography (GC) instrumentation and accessories shown at this year's Pittcon or introduced during the previous year. For a review of new GC and liquid chromatography (LC) columns and related accessories, please see "Column Watch" in the April and May 2014 (1,2) issues of LCGC Europe, which are also available on-line at www.chromatographyonline.com/ColumnWatch.
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 on the past year's products. It is not based on actual use or experience of the author. During Pittcon, I took time to stroll around the convention aisles and see some of the new products first-hand as well as to 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 cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. This column instalment 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 or attend the conference, nor is all of the submitted information necessarily included here because of the limited available space and the editors' judgment as to its suitability.
GC again displayed renewed vigour at this year's Pittcon technical sessions. As in previous years, work in comprehensive GC×GC continues to yield significant advances, while the older technique of moving thermal-gradient GC (TGGC) is finding a new niche. Of particular interest were two contributions in separate sessions by members of Milton Lee's group from Brigham Young University (Utah, USA) on the theory and practical applications of TGGC for microfabricated GC and for GC×GC (3,4) Originally investigated decades ago, TGGC helps focus and control the passage of analytes through a column to produce improved temperature-programmed separations. While the technique has not been adopted for commercialization in recent years, perhaps a new TGGC instrument will appear sometime in the future.
Table 1: Companies introducing new GC products.
Two other GC topics stood out: Alternative carrier gases and ionic liquid phases for GC. With the continuing uncertainty that surrounds helium supplies, the use of hydrogen or nitrogen as alternatives still garners much attention. Interest in hydrogen was evident throughout the exhibition as well as in a number of papers and posters. Recent developments seem to indicate that new supplies of helium from areas such as Qatar will ensure availability for the foreseeable future, but prices may remain high. Ionic liquid GC phases provide some unique selectivities and interest remains strong while applications of these materials expand to liquid–liquid and solid-phase micoextraction. See the related article on chromatography columns at Pittcon 2014 (2) for more details.
In the product realm, there were a few GC instruments introduced since Pittcon 2013. From Agilent Technologies, introduced at ASMS in 2013, the model 7000C triple-quadrupole GC–MS–MS system represents the high end of GC–MS with its advanced spectrometric capabilities and high sensitivity. During the past year, Agilent also introduced a hydrogen sensor and a large heated valve oven for its model 7890B GC system.
The 9100 Series gas chromatograph from Baseline Mocon is an on-line instrument that is reported to achieve laboratory-quality analysis for gas analysis across a wide range of applications. The model 5500 Fixed Gas Analyzer from CDS Analytical is an adjunct to the company's trapping pyrolysis systems for the analysis of low-molecular-weight gaseous by-products.
Table 2: New GC instruments.
Bruker showed the GC-APCI II GC–MS interface, which can be combined with any Bruker ESI mass spectrometer, including the impact HD LC-QTOF system introduced at the 2013 ASMS conference. The interface makes the impact HD's unique LC–QTOF–MS capabilities — such as accurate mass screening or determination of elemental compositions — accessible for GC–QTOF–MS.
Markes International's Select-eV variable-energy ion-source technology for GC–MS allows the energy used for electron ionization to be changed on a sliding scale without loss of sensitivity. This allows the production of both classical mass spectra and repeatable soft-ionization spectra with reduced fragmentation and an enhanced molecular ion.
VUV Analytics displayed a new type of GC detector that collects vacuum-ultraviolet spectra of peaks as they are eluted for peak identification, deconvolution, and selectivity. The detector operates from ~120 to 240 nm, down to shorter wavelengths than the ~190-nm capability of routine diode-array LC detectors.
Table 3: New autosamplers and accessories.
A number of autosamplers and related devices debuted this year. The model 4100 Water/Soil sample processor from OI Analytical automates the handling and processing of samples in up to 100 40-mL volatile organic analysis (VOA) vials for purge-and-trap analysis in conjunction with one or two of the company's Eclipse purge-and-trap instruments. The sample processor is equipped with a unique pneumatically actuated cylindrical vial gripper. Also from OI Analytical, the model LV-20 standards addition module is an option for the company's model 4551A water autosampler. The standards addition module adds internal standards, surrogate, or matrix spike standards for GC and GC–MS analyses.
The Flex autosampler from EST Analytical can perform a wide variety of liquid injections as well as some basic sample preparation on-board. This system can be upgraded to perform headspace sampling as well. And from CDS Analytical, the model 7500 thermal desorption autosampler is an extension of the company's model 7400 purge-and-trap system that offers the ability for the user to change between air-sample thermal desorption (TD) tubes and VOA vials for soil or water analysis.
Table 4: New GC instrument accessories.
Thermo Scientific's programmable Virtuoso vial printing system prints indelible, detailed information directly on sample vials in three text fields with a mini quick response (QR) barcode. Vial labelling takes approximately 5 s and the identification data can be input using the unit's touchscreen or directly from the lab network.
Gerstel's Hot Injection and Trapping (HIT) technique combines analytes from several headspace injections in a trapping or desorption procedure for single GC–MS runs. The technique integrates the capabilities of the company's MultiPurpose Sampler (MPS), Thermal Desorption Unit (TDU), and Cooled Injection System (CIS) inlet.
From Hamilton, the new S-line syringe for CTC PAL Autosampler applications complements the company's existing C-Line and X-Type CTC PAL autosampler syringes. S-Line syringes are built for economic everyday use for GC and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) injection applications.
I would like to thank the manufacturers and distributors that kindly furnished the requested information, which allowed a timely report on new product introductions over the past year. For those manufacturers who did not receive a preconference questionnaire this year and would like to receive one and be considered for early inclusion into the 2014–2015 new GC and related product introductions review, please send the name of the primary company contact, the mailing address, fax number, and e-mail address to Laura Bush, Editorial Director, LCGC Europe, email@example.com, Attn: 2015 New GC Products.
John V. Hinshaw is a senior scientist at Serveron Corporation in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, and is a member of the LCGC Europe editorial advisory board. Direct correspondence about this column should be addressed to "GC Connections", LCGC Europe, 4A Bridgegate Pavilion, Chester Business Park, Chester, CH4 9QH, UK, or email the editor-in-chief, Alasdair Matheson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) R. Majors, LCGC Europe 27(4), 196–207 (2014).
(2) R. Majors, LCGC Europe 27(5), 255–265 (2014).
(3) H.D. Tolley, S.E. Tolley, A. Wang, M.C. Asplund, and M.L. Lee, "Properties of Thermal Gradient GC Separations", presented at the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon 2014), Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2014.
(4) A. Wang, A.R. Hawkins, H.D. Tolley, and M.L. Lee, "Enhancing Separation Performance of Microfabricated Gas Chromatography Using Temperature Gradients", presented at the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon 2014), Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2014.
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