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Anal Chem. 2007 Mar 1;79(5):1840-7. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Microfluidic deans switch for comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan 48309, USA. seeley@oakland.edu


A microfluidic Deans switch was used as a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) modulator. The simplicity and wide temperature range of the Deans switch make it a promising alternative to existing modulation techniques. However, the Deans switch is a low duty cycle modulator; that is, it samples only a small portion of the primary column effluent. Like all low duty cycle modulators, the Deans switch produces inconsistent transfer of components from the primary to the secondary column if the primary peaks are undersampled. Theoretical simulations and experimental studies show that the relative standard deviation (RSD) of the fraction of material transferred from the primary column to the secondary column is less than 1% if the modulation ratio is greater than 2.5. But the RSDs increase rapidly as the modulation ratio is decreased below 2.5. Deans switch GCxGC was validated by analyzing the aromatic content of gasoline. A fast analysis (<10 min) produced narrow primary peaks and a modulation ratio of 1.7. The quantitative results were in good agreement with results obtained with differential flow modulation GCxGC and GC/MS, but the RSDs of single-component levels were approximately three times greater. The Deans switch modulator was also used for a slower gasoline analysis (33 min run time) that produced modulation ratios near 5. In this case, the quantitative results and RSDs were in excellent agreement with the differential flow GCxGC and GC/MS results. These studies demonstrate that a Deans switch can be an effective modulator provided that modulation ratios greater than approximately 2.5 are employed.

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