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Chromatographia. 2014;77:309-316. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

The Application of TD/GC/NICI-MS with an Al2O3-PLOT-S Column for the Determination of Perfluoroalkylcycloalkanes in the Atmosphere.

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  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
  • 2Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS), Department of Physics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.


A modified method for the quantitative determination of atmospheric perfluoroalkylcycloalkanes (PFCs) using thermal desorption coupled with gas chromatography and detection by negative ion chemical ionization-mass spectrometry was developed. Using an optimized analytical system, a commercially available Al2O3 porous layer open tubular (PLOT) capillary column (30 m × 0.25 mm) deactivated with Na2SO4 was used for separation of PFCs. Improvements in the separation of PFCs, the corresponding identification and the limit of detection of PFCs using this method and column are presented. The method was successfully applied to determine the atmospheric background concentrations of a range of PFCs from a number of samples collected at a rural site in Germany. The results of this study suggest that the method outlined using the Al2O3-PLOT-S capillary column has good sensitivity and selectivity, and that it can be deployed in a routine laboratory process for the analysis of PFCs in the future research work. In addition, the ability of this column to separate the isomers of one of the lower boiling PFCs (perfluorodimethylcyclobutane) and its ability to resolve perfluoroethylcyclohexane offer the opportunity for single-column analysis for multiple PFCs.


Al2O3-PLOT-S column; PFCs; TD/GC/NICI–MS; Tracer

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