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Compact instrumentation of a μ-GC for real time analysis of sub-ppb VOC mixtures

We report the instrumentation of a μ-GC system that was capable of performing real-time analysis of sub-ppb-levels of organic mixture vapors. This system consists of a multi-stage preconcentrator/injector, a capillary column with at-column heater configuration and a photo ionization detector (PID). A tablet computer was embedded inside the instrument case to form a stand-alone system that can provide both instrument control and chromatogram data handling without an external computer. Through the compact design of fluidic system, this fully functional GC measured 30 (l)×17(w)×8(h) cm and the weight was less than 3kg. This system could be powered by either a 12VDC adapter or batteries. Mixtures of 10 organic compounds were tested to demonstrate the performance of this system. Separation of the 10 compounds took only 2minutes due to the rapid temperature programming ability of at-column heater. The detection limit ranged from 0.02 to 0.36ppb can be achieved with 1.0L sample volume. The analytical cycle including sampling, separation and cooling required only 15minutes. The stability of this μ-GC was evaluated by analyzing VOCs at ~3ppb vapor concentration through continuous operation over 24hours. The retention time varied less than 1.2% (RSD, n=120). The variation in peak areas ranged from 2.2% (benzene) to 5.2% (m-xylene).
Highlights ► Building mini-preconcentrator, rapid heating column and optimized make-up flow for PID detector. ► Integrating a μ-GC system incorporating a tablet computer inside to be a fully stand alone and compact system. ► The detection limit ranged from 0.02 to 0.36ppb using 1.0L sample volume. ► The precision of retention time was within 1.2% and the precisions of quantification were within 5.2% for continuous analyses of 120 samples during 24hours.

Authors:   Rih-Sheng Jian, Yi-Shiaw Huang, Shih-Lung Lai, Lung-Yu Sung, Chia-Jung Lu
Journal:   Microchemical Journal
Year:   2012
DOI:   10.1016/j.microc.2012.10.016
Publication date:   29-Oct-2012
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