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Anal Chem. 2007 Nov 1;79(21):8270-80. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Comprehensive three-dimensional gas chromatography with parallel factor analysis.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Box 351700, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Development of a comprehensive, three-dimensional gas chromatograph (GC3) instrument is described. The instrument utilizes two six-port diaphragm valves as the interfaces between three, in-series capillary columns housed in a standard Agilent 6890 gas chromatograph fitted with a high data acquisition rate flame ionization detector. The modulation periods for sampling column one by column two and column two by column three are set so that a minimum of three slices (more commonly four or five) are acquired by the subsequent dimension resulting in both comprehensive and quantitative data. A 26-component test mixture and quantitative standards are analyzed using the GC3 instrument. A useful methodology for three-dimensional (3D) data analysis is evaluated, based on the chemometric technique parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC). Since the GC3 instrument produces trilinear data, we are able to use this powerful chemometric technique, which is better known for the analysis of two-dimensional (2D) separations with multichannel detection (e.g., GC x GC-TOFMS) or multiple samples (or replicates) of 2D data. Using PARAFAC, we mathematically separate (deconvolute) the 3D data "volume" for overlapped analytes (i.e., ellipsoids), provided there is sufficient chromatographic resolution in each of the three separation dimensions. Additionally, PARAFAC is applied to quantify analyte standards. For the quantitative analysis, it is demonstrated that PARAFAC may provide a 10-fold improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio relative to a traditional integration method applied to the raw, baseline-corrected data. The GC3 instrument obtains a 3D peak capacity of 3500 at a chromatographic resolution of one in each separation dimension. Furthermore, PARAFAC deconvolution provides a considerable enhancement in the effective 3D peak capacity.

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