Recent concerns with the price and availability of helium have led laboratories to look for alternative carrier gases for their GC/MS and GC/MS/MS systems. For GC/MS, hydrogen is the best alternative to helium. Among the problems encountered when converting to hydrogen carrier gas in GC/MS is that hydrogen is not an inert gas and may cause chemical reactions in the mass spectrometer electron ionization (EI) source. This can lead to disturbed ion ratios in the mass spectrum, spectral infidelity, and peak tailing. Therefore, a novel EI source for GC/MS and GC/MS/MS was developed and optimized for use with hydrogen carrier gas.
To evaluate the novel EI source performance, several classes of compounds including SVOCs, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, phthalates, and pesticides were analyzed with GC/MS and GC/MS/MS using hydrogen as the carrier gas. The results demonstrated:
The novel EI source addresses one of the operational issues impacting the environmental laboratory industry with using hydrogen as the carrier gas.
Anastasia Andrianova is a GC/MS Applications Scientist in the Mass Spectrometry Division of Agilent Technologies, located in Wilmington, Delaware. She received a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) in 2017 and a combined masters’ and bachelor’s degree in analytical chemistry from the Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia) in 2014. Anastasia has been at Agilent Technologies since 2018. She has authored or co-authored over 30 journal articles and application notes, as well as 1 patent in the field of analytical chemistry, focusing on chromatography and mass spectrometry. Anastasia is currently working in GC/MS applications in multiple areas with a focus on food and environmental analysis.