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Our annual review of new gas chromatography (GC) products introduced in the past 12 months.
“GC Connections” presents the column’s annual review of new developments in the field of gas chromatography seen at Pittcon and other venues in the past 12 months.
I am pleased to present our annual review of new products in gas chromatography (GC), introduced between spring of 2019 and spring of this year. Many of these products were showcased at the 71st meeting of the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, from February 29 to March 5, 2020. As has become tradition, the exposition lasted three days. Overall attendance was down significantly, due to coronavirus COVID-19 concerns. The exposition included 542 exhibitors and there were over 9000 attendees. Several international exhibitors canceled due to travel concerns. Four major players in the GC market, Agilent Technologies, Perkin Elmer, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, and Waters, did not exhibit.
Pittcon 2021 will be held from March 6 to 10, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I strongly encourage all readers to consider attending a GC-related conference or participate in your local or regional chromatography discussion group in the next year. As you know, 2020 is a rough year for conference organizers and for all of the vendors, contractors, and economies that conferences support. They need your help. Just as importantly, conference and meeting attendance is still the most effective and efficient way to train and educate yourself about GC, and improve your skills and performance.
Again this year, the exposition included vendor booths displaying new instrumentation and products, along with educational exhibits including Pittcon Park, the Laboratory Gauntlet, a planetarium, demonstration spaces, and a TED-style presentation theater on the exposition floor. Pittcon still has massive excellent content to offer to students and scientists at all levels of expertise and in all roles. In the demonstration spaces, many vendors performed working demonstrations of their products.
The technical program at Pittcon 2020, which ran over five days from Sunday through Thursday, included a very strong GC presence. Pittcon continues to be a leading showcase for the latest GC and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) related research. Three major awards were presented to gas chromatographers this year. The Chromatography Forum of the Delaware Valley presented the Dal Nogare Award to Ron Majors, retired from Agilent Technologies and the former “Sample Prep Perspectives” and “Column Watch” editor for LCGC. Throughout his career, Majors made numerous GC-related contributions. The LCGC Lifetime Achievement Award went to Daniel W. Armstrong of the University of Texas at Arlington. Among Armstrong’s many accomplishments is the development of ionic liquid stationary phases for capillary GC. Finally, the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Satinder Ahuja New Investigator Award in Separation Science was presented to. Katelynn Perrault from the University of Honolulu, Hawaii. Perrault is an up-and-coming leader in GCxGC, and a renowned expert in the application of GCxGC in forensic science.
In addition to the award sessions, there were several symposia, oral sessions, poster sessions, and networking events with significant GC presence, enough to keep attendees very busy on all days. Overall, sessions related to cannabis analysis, biofuels, food and beverages, forensics, and general applications of both GC and GCxGC were offered.
The information presented in this article is based on vendors’ responses to questionnaires and additional information from press releases, websites, and product literature, not on actual use or experience of the author. Every effort has been made to collect accurate information, but because of the preliminary nature of some of the material, LCGC North America cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions. This column cannot be considered a complete record of all new GC products introduced in the past year, because not all vendors chose to respond to the questionnaire, and not all had a strong presence at Pittcon, nor is all of the submitted information necessarily included here, because of the limited available space and the editors’ judgment as to its suitability. The index in this article provides a listing of the vendors whose new GC products are covered in this review. For a more complete picture of the GC space today, I encourage you to review the two previous years’ reviews by Hinshaw (1,2).
In new instruments, trends seen over the past few years toward smaller, more automated systems, systems that are more specialized, and spectrometric detectors continue with the product introductions this year. Table I shows a list of new instruments introduced over the past year.
Capillary columns continue to be updated by most of the column vendors. The three vendors highlighted in Table II provide examples of three important trends in column development: lower prices, specialized columns for specific systems, and new column chemistries geared toward specific problems.
Developments in new accessories and consumables trend toward simplifying analysis, and include a range of devices from sample vials and sampling devices through data system software. For more information on sample preparation, see the specific sample preparation article by Raynie in this issue of LCGC North America (3). As with the GC reviews, it is worthwhile to review the past two years as well for a complete picture of sample preparation products (4,5). Table III provides a listing of accessories and consumables launched over the past year.
Besides several short courses associated with Pittcon, additional training and educational resources are available for 2020. Opportunities for in-person short courses, seminars, and training are offered by most major instrument vendors and through many conferences and organizations, including the American Chemical Society, Eastern Analytical Symposium (Princeton, New Jersey, November 2020) and local and regional chromatography discussion groups. LCGC’s on-line training partner, ChromAcademy, has launched a completely revamped on-line platform. A new edition of McNair and Miller’s classic book “Basic Gas Chromatography” with Nicholas Snow added as an author was published this year. New developments in training and education for 2019–2020 are shown in Table IV.
As GC approaches 70 years since its invention, development and invention are still going strong. As seen here and in 2020, GC-related developments and innovations are ongoing and include all areas: sampling and supplies, new instruments, columns, detectors, data systems, and educational opportunities. I look forward to more innovation and advancements as the decade progresses, and I hope to see many of you at EAS 2020 in my home state of New Jersey, or at Pittcon 2021 in New Orleans.
Nicholas H. Snow is the Founding Endowed Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Seton Hall University, and an Adjunct Professor of Medical Science. During his 30 years as a chromatographer, he has published more than 70 refereed articles and book chapters and has given more than 200 presentations and short courses. He is interested in the fundamentals and applications of separation science, especially gas chromatography, sampling, and sample preparation for chemical analysis. His research group is very active, with ongoing projects using GC, GC–MS, two-dimensional GC, and extraction methods including headspace, liquid–liquid extraction, and solid-phase microextraction. Direct correspondence to: LCGCedit@mmhgroup.com