How to choose the right gas chromatography system for your lab

Maintenance Tip: Gas Chromatography Systems

Broken columns, broken or loose fittings, broken ferrules, cored septa, or blocked tubing are all possible causes of GC gas leaks. Such leaks can also be caused if a column is not installed in the expected inlet or is not connected to the expected detector. That’s why it’s important to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions on installing fittings and other GC components. Doing regular visual inspections of your system or reviewing method settings can also help you avoid disaster.

How will the number of different tests required affect the type of GC system being used?

In order to accommodate different tests and sample types, many GC systems are now set up to allow for more than one detector to be used at a time. Many modern systems now allow for a variety of different detectors to be switched in and out interchangeably in minutes, reducing downtime between tests. On top of this, some systems have more than one detector operating at the same time, such as a GC-MS-NMR system.

How does increased sample throughput requirements influence which type of GC system should be used?

Increased sample loads and a need for faster turnaround times have prompted many vendors to begin creating automation and informatics solutions for GC systems. Modern systems are now typically integrated to fully automated solutions—from prep to analysis—which allows researchers more time to focus on other processes in the lab. On top of this, many GC systems come with informatics software to assist with the analysis of data and report writing, making the process even more streamlined.

How will non-routine analysis or samples affect which GC system is the best fit?

In cases where the samples being analyzed are non-routine or unknown, it can be beneficial to have a GC system setup that includes a non-destructive detector. Non-destructive detectors do not change the sample chemically and can allow for a secondary detector to be set up, allowing for further analysis. Examples of non-destructive detectors are UV detectors, TCD, and ECD. Examples of destructive detectors include FID, FPD, and MS.


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