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J Chromatogr A. 2008 Apr 18;1188(1):2-16. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.02.044. Epub 2008 Feb 16.

Comparison of one-dimensional and comprehensive two-dimensional separations by gas chromatography.

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Fast GC Consulting, PO Box 1243, Wilmington, DE 19801, USA.


Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC) can reveal information on the composition of a sample in a way that cannot be done by one-dimensional GC (1D-GC). GC x GC also offers much greater control of chromatographic selectivity based on molecular structure. However, in spite of more than 15 years of claims of the ability of GC x GC to resolve an overwhelmingly larger number of peaks than 1D-GC, and in spite of the theoretically proven potential of GC x GC to have an order of magnitude larger peak capacity than 1D-GC, the peak capacity of currently practiced GC x GC does not generally exceed the peak capacity attainable from 1D-GC with the same analysis time and the same minimal detectable concentration (MDC). The methodology for comparing the peak capacity of GC x GC to 1D-GC is described. The comparison of the performance of GC x GC to 1D-GC shows that the modulator is the key bottleneck limiting the performance of existing GC x GC. To realize the full potential of GC x GC, duration of injection from a modulator into the second-dimension column should be reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Use of powerful data analysis techniques such as peak deconvolution in both dimensions can further increase resolving power of GC x GC.

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