GC-IMS Technical Details


Combination of gas chromatography (GC) with ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) brings together the high selectivity of GC with the ultrahigh sensitivity of IMS.

The technical configurations with gas chromatographic (GC) columns include standard capillary (15-60m) or multi-capillary of various stationary phases that are selected according to the requirements of the analytical assignments.

The GC-IMS has an integrated temperature and flow controller. This allows for firmware-steered ramping that, in turn, generates better separation of highly volatile compounds and a shorter run time. These can be key QC outcomes. Availability of both positive and negative ionisation modes makes the instrument suitable for detecting substances as diverse as ketones, aldehydes, alcohols, amines, phosphor organics and chlorinated or hydrogenated compounds.

The integrated six-port valve allows for flexible sampling of gases. All relevant method development parameters are also easy to access, meaning that each individual system can be optimised by an operator for a given specific application.

The GC-IMS operates isothermally in a range of 40-80°C and >100°C for baking out (cleaning). Automatic data acquisition is facilitated on the instrument and when the instrument is connected to PC-operated 3-D data visualisation and analysis software called Laboratory Analytical Viewer (LAV). This software quantifies single marker compounds, whilst additional software plug-ins detect new compounds or concentration differences between existing compounds. Results are based on a reference standard that benchmarks the quality of a sample.

Remote online process control is possible on the basis of onboard data acquisition and analysis together with analogue data output via 4-20mA current loops. Manual and automatic operation modes are available, both of which have an easy-to-use menu. The standard configuration of the GC-IMS requires N2 or synthetic gas for its operation. An alternative is to equip the instrument with a circular gas flow unit (CGFU) that allows it to be independent from any external gas supply. Together, these features make GC-IMS a flexible and analytical tool for use online and/or on-site.

These features also make the instrument suitable for a range of functions including but not limited to testing for residual solvents and impurities from production, off-flavour detection, product or ingredient authentication, odour or toxic industrial chemical monitoring from industrial plants and effects of perfume and cosmetics on human skin.

A circular gas flow unit (CGFU) can also be fitted. This reduces the need for direct access to a gas source and allows the GC-IMS instrument to be used as a portable, on-site instrument.

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Some GC-IMS use cases to date:
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