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

May 2013
Publication year: 2013
Source:Microchemical Journal, Volume 108

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 12V DC adapter or batteries. Mixtures of 10 organic compounds were tested to demonstrate the performance of this system. Separation of the 10 compounds took only 2min 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 15min. The stability of this μ-GC was evaluated by analyzing VOCs at ~3ppb vapor concentration through continuous operation over 24h. 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 precision of peak area were within 5.2% for 24hr analyses.

Journal:   Microchemical Journal
Year:   2013
DOI:   10.1016/j.microc.2012.10.016
Publication date:   18-Mar-2013
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