Characterization of thermal desorption with the Deans-switch technique in gas chromatographic analysis of volatile organic compounds

Chang Feng Ou-Yang, Ying Xue Huang, Ting Jyun Huang, Yong Shen Chen, Chieh Heng Wang, Jia Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a novel application based on the Deans-switch cutting technique to characterize the thermal-desorption (TD) properties for gas chromatographic (GC) analysis of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Flash-heating of the sorbent bed at high temperatures to desorb trapped VOCs to GC may easily produce severe asymmetric or tailing GC peaks affecting resolution and sensitivity if care is not taken to optimize the TD conditions. The TD peak without GC separation was first examined for the quality of the TD peak by analyzing a standard gas mixture from C2 to C12 at ppb level. The Deans switch was later applied in two different stages. First, it was used to cut the trailing tail of the TD peak, which, although significantly improved the GC peak symmetry, led to more loss of the higher boiling compounds than the low boiling ones, thus suggesting compound discrimination. Subsequently, the Deans switch was used to dissect the TD peak into six 30 s slices in series, and an uneven distribution in composition between the slices were found. A progressive decrease in low boiling compounds and increase in higher boiling ones across the slices indicated severe inhomogeneity in the TD profile. This finding provided a clear evidence to answer the discrimination problem found with the tail cutting approach to improve peak symmetry. Through the use of the innovated slicing method based on the Deans-switch cutting technique, optimization of TD injection for highly resolved, symmetric and non-discriminated GC peaks can now be more quantitatively assessed and guided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2016


  • Deans switch
  • Peak asymmetry
  • Thermal desorption


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of thermal desorption with the Deans-switch technique in gas chromatographic analysis of volatile organic compounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this