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Size and speed key to chromatography and spectroscopy advances

1st April 2013


The latest releases in separation technology include a completely new approach to liquids analysis and advanced columns which focus on improving results and laboratory productivity. Sean Ottewell reports.

A2 Technologies has announced its new integrated FTIR analyser designed for the rapid analysis of liquids by FTIR spectroscopy. Based on A2's widely used ML analyser, and occupying just eight square inches on a lab bench, the ML with DialPath Technology represents a completely new approach to the analysis of liquid samples.

The technology features a tumbler-like optical head that can be rotated into position to provide one of three, factory-set, selectable sample path lengths between 30 and 250 microns. To analyse a sample, a drop of the liquid is placed on a stationary infrared-transparent window mounted on the top surface of the analyser, and then a second window is rotated into position, thus sandwiching the sample between the two windows. This creates highly reproducible, fixed sample pathlength between the two windows.

The DialPath technology offers the user their choice of three different path lengths, which are specified when the system is ordered, affording a FTIR liquids analyser with exceptional versatility, ease of use and performance in multi-application environments. For lower concentration samples, simply dial in a longer path length window set; for samples that are more concentrated, use the shorter path length combination.

The DialPath Technology makes liquids analysis as easy to use as ATR. There is no reason to use traditional demountable liquid cells, which can leak, require spacers, may fringe, are difficult to fill and clean, and are particularly difficult to use with more viscous samples. The DialPath-equipped ML readily accommodates samples with a wide range of viscosities. Cleaning the DialPath analyser is as simple as rotating the window away from the fixed window and wiping the liquid sample off both windows.

Graham Miller, president of A2 Technologies comments: "The ML with DialPath Technology represents the first breakthrough in liquids analysis by FTIR in a number of years. ATR has become a mainstay for FTIR analysis because of its ease of use and versatility and now this new technology makes longer pathlength liquids analysis just as easy. The ML with DialPath Technology will find great use among analysts who frequently measure liquid samples in industries as varied as petroleum, energy, chemical and food."

The new SPECTRO ARCOS 165 optical emission spectrometer with inductively coupled plasma (ICP-OES) records the elemental spectrum between 165 and 770 nm for every measurement; making it especially suited to challenging tasks in environmental analysis. The new model rounds out the ICP-OES analyzer product series between the flagship SPECTRO ARCOS and the entry-level SPECTRO GENESIS.

"The engineering of the SPECTRO ARCOS 165 is based completely on the high-end components utilised in our flagship ARCOS system and achieves exactly the same detection limits, the same precision and equally reproducible results," explains Olaf Schulz, product manager for ICP-OES spectrometers at SPECTRO.

The optical system is the only difference between the models: while the ARCOS records the entire spectrum starting at 130 nm for every measurement, the trimmed down ARCOS 165 measures the wavelength range beginning at 165nm.

Schulz adds: "In practice, this is only noticeable for halogen and metal matrix analysis applications - two applications that don't play a major role in many laboratories. Customers that can do without this wavelength range of 130-165 are rewarded with the exceptional ARCOS performance at a very attractive price."

Optic design

Technical highlights include: a a proven optic design with an excellent resolution of 8.5 picometre in the 165-340 nm range, and 5 picometre in the 340-770 nm range; unshakeable free-running 27 MHz generator with continuous, stable plasma power. The extremely robust excitation source with a five kilowatt power tube has sufficient power reserves even for peak plasma loads; the gas-filled optic, an economical closed argon circuit that reduces the operating costs of the instrument by up to EUR1900/y; the extremely user friendly and powerful Smart Analyzer Vision (SAV) software, that is completely compatible with all environmental analysis guidelines and transforms complex testing protocols such as US EPA 200.7 into routine simplicity.

Schulz sees the rapidly growing market for environmental analysis as the major area of use for the SPECTRO ARCOS 165: "This instrument can play out its strengths - lowest detection levels and highest precision - with the analysis of water, waste water, soil or sludge."A further plus point in this area, he emphasises, is the instrument's enormous sample throughput: "In automated laboratory operation, the ARCOS 165 can process up to 80 samples per hour; making it an excellent choice for high throughput environmental laboratories."

Agilent Technologies' J&W DB-35ms Ultra Inert GC Column is the first mid-polarity column that specifically addresses the unique needs of drugs of abuse testing and pesticide analysis. It joins the existing apolar columns in the family, DB/HP-1ms and DB/HP-5ms. With this new column, ultra inert performance is available for applications where mid-polar selectivity is needed for enhanced separations. Chemists can quantify components at a lower level, have broader linearity and optimise their separation by choosing the right selectivity to increase productivity.

"Inertness is becoming more and more important in the marketplace," said Anne Jones, vice president of Agilent's chemistries division. "The introduction of a mid-polar ultra inert column to our portfolio demonstrates Agilent's commitment to continuing to provide innovative columns for the chromatography industry."

Low column bleed

According to Agilent, the J&W Ultra Inert product family offers the most consistent column inertness with exceptionally low column bleed resulting in lower detection limits and more accurate data. Each column is tested with the most demanding test probe mixture in the industry and a performance summary sheet is shipped in each box. "Users can have the utmost confidence that the column will meet demanding research requirements," says the company.

Thermo Scientific says its TSQ Quantum XLS offers a new standard of excellence in GC-MS/MS structure selective detection for multi-component target compound quantitation for the toughest analytical challenges in food safety, environmental, forensic, toxicological, pharmaceutical, clinical research, and petrochemical laboratories. It also provides maximum uptime for 24/7 uninterrupted operation and superior sensitivity (Fig. 1).

TSQ Quantum XLS Benefits include: run more samples - DuraBrite IRIS technology inside; high precision results - lowest limits of quantitation; quick source maintenance without venting - exchangeable ion volumes; highest selectivity for heavy matrix samples - highly-selective reaction monitoring (H-SRM); unambiguous confirmation -structure-selective detection (SSD; elimination of false positives -unique zero cross-talk angled collision cell; and exceptional versitility - switchable between GC and LC modes.

Finally, Phenomenex has added two new phases in its successful Kinetex core-shell HPLC/UHPLC column family. Kinetex XB-C18 and Kinetex C8 bring the advantages of ultra-high liquid chromatography performance (UHPLC) within standard HPLC operating pressures to a growing list of applications. Kinetex core-shell technology meets researchers' need to improve results and increase productivity without large capital expenditures.

Enhanced separation

The new Kinetex XB-C18 provides a novel selectivity, incorporating two iso-butyl side chains at the base of the C18 ligand to reduce secondary interactions with residual silanols. These columns deliver enhanced separation and peak shape of basic compounds under neutral and acidic pH conditions. In comparison studies with other C18 columns, this new Kinetex phase has produced differences in peak elution order and improved separation of co-eluting compounds.

The new Kinetex C8 phase meets the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) specifications for classification code L7, enabling laboratories using L7 columns to realise the benefits of Kinetex core-shell technology while staying compliant with USP-allowable adjustments.





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