An existing GC-MS/FID method coupling with the cryogenic trapping was improved to perform continuous field monitoring of 106 VOCs, covering a wide range of volatilities and polarities (C 2-C 11 NMHCs, ≥C 1 halocarbons, toxic chlorinated compounds, ethers, some esters and ketones). Cryogenic enrichment was employed from the standpoints of higher signal-to-noise ratio, less carry-over and better protection of thermally labile compounds than chemical sorbent enrichment. However, cryogen consumption is large and creates a great logistical burden for field deployment. As a result, a new in-line sampling manifold was designed and incorporated into the system to separate the sampling from trapping during enrichment of ambient VOCs, which gave rise to two major advantages: (1) the sampling is performed by a pre-evacuated flask, which does not need cryogen when filling a sample, so that the sampling time can be extended to yield better sample representation (approximately one hour was chosen for the sampling time for hourly data resolution in this study) and (2) because the cryo-trapping only takes a short time period (3min in this study), the consumption of cryogen is greatly reduced (4L liquid nitrogen per sample for conventional cryo-trapping vs. 0.6L for the new method). The robustness of the automated GC-MS/FID coupling with in-line sampling for the 106 target compounds was assessed with a set of quality assurance criteria of system blank, wall effect, precision, linearity, detection limit and field test to support the field applicability of the method. The configuration of the proposed in-line sampling apparatus is simple and rugged, which can be easily built and connected with any GC or GC-MS and readily deployed in the field to perform high-quality continuous measurements of more than 106 VOCs.
- Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/flame ionization detector (GC-MS/FID)
- Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs)
- Ozone precursors
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)