Peak tailoring concept in gas chromatographic analysis of volatile organic pollutants in the atmosphere

Chieh Heng Wang, Chih Chung Chang, Jia Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

An automated gas chromatographic system aiming at performing unattended analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was developed in laboratory. To encompass VOCs of a wide range of volatility, two different designs of enrichment and separation methods were adopted and compared with performance in analyzing ozone precursors of C3-C12. In the dual-trap dual-column design, lower boiling species (C3-C6) are enriched and separated by one set of trap and column (porous layer open tubular (PLOT)), whereas the enrichment and separation for the higher boiling species (C6-C12) are performed by the other set (wall-coated open tubular (WCOT)). Undesired peaks also inevitably appear on both chromatograms often causing annoyances. To reduce complexity of both the apparatus and the resulting chromatograms, the heart-cut technique was adopted as a base for developing a system, which only uses one trap and one flame ionization detector for constructing two-dimensional GC with PLOT and DB-1. Methods were developed to allow the auxiliary flow pressure in the heart-cut device to be programmed to create dual effects, which not only can perform regular heart-cut actions but can also temporally hold up species in the precolumn for prescribed time intervals. Because it is characteristic for PLOT chromatograms to have reproducible blank retention time windows, segments of a DB-1 trace are produced by the auxiliary flow program aligning perfectly in time with the gaps of the PLOT trace. Subsequently, the two column flows are merged and channeled into single flame ionization detector to produce a very condensed "tailored" chromatogram which is equivalent to overlaying a PLOT and a DB-1 chromatogram on top of each other, except that no peaks are overlapped. This innovative "peak tailoring" concept based on the heart-cut technique is simple in design, easy to build, and extremely rugged for long-term continuous operation as fewer moving parts are involved, which is beneficial for deploying in remote monitoring stations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Volume1087
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2005

Keywords

  • Monitoring stations
  • Ozone precursors
  • Volatile organic compounds

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