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J Chromatogr A. 2002 Jul 12;962(1-2):135-52.

Influence of chromatographic conditions on separation in comprehensive gas chromatography.

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  • 1Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia.


Comprehensive gas chromatography (GC x GC) is now established as a powerful technique, which offers unprecedented separation power. For complex samples, the distribution of peaks in the two-dimensional (2D) space still may need to be optimised. Since temperature (T) is a critical variable, and compounds can be shifted in relative positions on column 1 arising from temperature program rate (rT) changes, and since retention in the second dimension, D2 (2tR) is likewise affected by the prevailing T (elution temperature; Te), then any factors which alter Te will affect the extent of separation in D2. Since temperature program and carrier gas velocity rate will affect the Te of the solutes, these two factors are considered in this paper. Apart from these two parameters, results of different stationary phase choice for the second dimension column as well as the second dimension column length are reported. rT is found to have the most profound impact on the Te of solutes and will be more likely to cause an inversion of elution order if such behaviour can occur. Peak widths and 2tR increase with a decrease in Te. On the other hand, flow-rate has less impact on peak widths and 2tR although Te is affected by a change in flow-rate. Specific solute-stationary phase interactions will cause the elution order of certain solutes to be altered, and may be observed when a different stationary phase is employed as the second column, depending on the solute-stationary phase separation mechanism. Experiments conducted on different second dimension column length showed that although a longer column will lead to better separations, wrap-around may confound the separation process and may cause the solutes from sequential modulation events to co-elute. Thus a suitable second dimension column phase and length must be employed in order to obtain good separation. The factors investigated in this study will cause different extents of changes in the solute elution order and solute separations, and will affect the 2D contour presentation.

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