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Productivity and speed are key to chromatography and spectroscopy

1st April 2013


Despite the current global economic uncertainty the recent Pittcon conference and exposition in Chicago, USA, exceeded the organisers' hopes by attracting well over 19000 attendees.

Among the many attractions on show by more than 1000 exhibitors were the latest advances in chromatography and spectroscopy technology.

In no uncertain terms, our customers are telling us they need to achieve more: more productivity, more efficiency, and more speed in all of their efforts," said Rohit Khanna, vice president of Worldwide Marketing with Waters Corporation.

To this end, the company's headline offerings this year included the Xevo family of benchtop mass spectrometers.

Xevo mass spectrometers are designed around the philosophy of Engineered Simplicity which combines outstanding instrument performance with simplicity enabled by IntelliStart technology to allow scientists to convert data into business-critical knowledge faster and with greater assurance.

New to Pittcon this year, Waters Xevo quadrupole time-of-flight (QTof) mass spectrometer (MS) is an exact mass MS/MS benchtop instrument that the company says is the most sensitive benchtop QTof system ever developed. Paired with Waters ACQUITY UPLC system, the Xevo QTof MS is the only commercially-available MS system to give scientists one-of-a-kind UPLC/MS performance - a novel method of data acquisition that captures "all of the data all of the time" at unparalleled speeds to maximise the amount of information collected from minimal sample amounts.

Also new to Pittcon was the Waters Xevo TQ MS System, an advanced tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer that tackles the most demanding quantification applications for target compounds at low concentrations in highly complex and diverse samples.

According to the company, the Xevo TQ MS System is uniquely qualified to allow laboratories to conform to the new US Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for bioanalytical method validation. The intent of the guidance is to prevent errors due to matrix effects made during the toxicological assessment of a target compound or its metabolites; errors than can have life-threatening consequences during clinical trials.

With the Xevo family of mass spectrometers, Waters is combining advanced performance with ease-of-use to answer the need for laboratories to get more out of their investment in analytical technology (Fig.1).

"According to our customers, the effects of the world's economic, resource and globalisation challenges are felt in the laboratories as much as any other part of an organisation's mission-critical operations," said Brian Smith, vice president of mass spectrometry operations for the Waters Division. "These challenges put even greater burdens on labs to answer complex questions faster with greater confidence using fewer resources than ever before. Consequently, today's laboratory technology should be measured on its ability to improve lab productivity and decision-making if our customers are to be successful."

PerkinElmer used Pittcon as the launch vehicle for its new Flexar liquid chromatography (LC) platform, which is controlled by the new Chromera chromatography data system (CDS).

Flexar incorporates a new ergonomic industrial design and delivers a wide range of pressure options intended to address the increasingly demanding application needs of high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) laboratories. The company's new multi-tiered platform offers solutions from semi-prep to ultra high pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC).

Chromera has been built from the ground up, offering an easy approach to LC instrument control and chromatographic data processing. The instrument platform and software build upon PerkinElmer's commitment to superior reliability in LC product design and control, providing a platform that covers a wider performance and pressure range.

"These new systems mark our commitment to delivering innovation and greater productivity to this market," said Richard Begley, president analytical services, PerkinElmer. "We are also focused on addressing the important concerns of laboratory professionals, which include both materials costs and waste-disposal."

The Flexar UHPLC Systems feature the new FX-15 UHPLC system, which can provide as much as a ten-fold gain in productivity, while reducing mobile phase solvent consumption by as much as 15-fold, depending on the application. Smaller particle size (<2um) columns offer new possibilities for resolution and separations, as well as allow for faster analysis time.

According to the company, this introduction to the market is timely, as HPLC laboratory managers are faced with a shortage of the key HPLC solvent, acetronitrile, and are increasingly focused on reducing solvent consumption to drive more environmentally sound operations and reduce the cost of waste disposal.

The new Chromera CDS provides an extensive suite of powerful tools designed to allow users to more easily control instruments, rapidly visualise data and efficiently communicate results through an accessible worktop. The platform uses a patented technology for instrument control that allows flexibility of configurations and multiple detection capabilities to help address the increasing need for laboratory productivity.

Chromera also extends Flexar's flexibility by supporting multi-detector system configurations often used in environmental and food safety applications. For example, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons can be determined in food and environmental samples using a Flexar system combining UV/VIS and fluorescence detectors. Laboratory managers and bench chemists in the environmental, food safety and quality, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as academia in environmental, biotech and chemical research can benefit from the flexibility that the Flexar UHPLC Systems and Chromera offer.

"PerkinElmer is invested in ensuring that our liquid chromatography offerings continue to demonstrate more robust and powerful designs than any other offerings on the market," said Eric Ziegler, vice president, chromatography business unit, analytical sciences, PerkinElmer. "The new Chromera design is the first in a line of products under development that will continue to support additional instruments and provide increasing levels of functionality from the workstation to enterprise-wide," he added.

Pittcon also saw the launch of PANalytical's new standardless analysis package, Omnian. This latest module in the company's proven SuperQ software suite is designed to be used with the Axios sequential X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

According to the company, Omnian provides the ideal answer for characterisation and analysis of unknown samples (Fig.2), or in situations where certified standards that match specific sample characteristics are not available.

Omnian can handle a wide variety of sample types such as solids, pressed powders, fused beads, loose powders and liquids. The software is adaptable, depending on user experience or the desired mode of operation. With its problem-solving power it deals with analytical challenges including sample quantification, screening and failure analysis, as well as the comparison of different materials.

PANalytical says Omnian is set to become the new benchmark in these important applications. It is designed to provide fast, reliable quantification in the default 'black box' mode. However, the data collected is comprehensive and can be reviewed more extensively.

The system adjusts automatically to sample and matrix effects as well as sample thickness, volume and 'Dark-Matrix' composition. It can be fine-tuned for increased accuracy by using adaptive sample characterisation (ASC)

 





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