Low-cost photoionization sensors as detectors in GC × GC systems designed for ambient VOC measurements.


Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment and Pollution Control, School of Environment and Energy, South China University of Technology, 510006 Guangzhou, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Conventional volatile organic compound (VOC) monitoring based on thermal desorption - gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) or gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (TD-GC-FID) is relatively cumbersome and expensive. In this study commercial off the shelf low-cost and low-power photo-ionization detector (PID) sensors are used as simple detectors in VOC analysis systems based on GC, including a miniaturised GC × GC device with portable, low-cost, and low-energy-consumption features. PID sensors produce a voltage signal positively proportional to VOC concentration, which when incorporated into a TD-GC system gave limit of detection of 0.02 ppbV for isoprene. To test PID performance in real-world applications, PID sensors were deployed as (i) a second alternative detector in a GC-Quadruple Time Of Flight Mass spectrometry (GC-Q-TOF-MS), and (ii) the main detector in a compact two-dimensional gas chromatograph (GC × GC). PID sensors with 10.6 eV and 11.7 eV lamps were used to measure eight toxic chemicals including organic sulfide and organic phosphonates via GC; two species were ionized by a 10.6 eV lamp and four species by the 11.7 eV lamp. Commercially available low-cost PIDs designed for standalone could be straightforwardly and effectively re-used as detectors in compact GC × GC systems, in this work showing excellent VOC sensitivity, fast response and low operational demands compared to comparable field instruments based on GC-FID or MS.


Flame ionization detector (FID),Gas chromatography (GC),Photo-ionization detector (PID),Quadruple time-of-flight mass spectrometry (Q-TOF-MS),Two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC × GC),Volatile organic compounds (VOCs),

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