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The main features of a GC unit are the injector, helium or nitrogen source, separation column, detector, and a display screen. There are a variety of injector types, some split the stream to provide a test sample, others take continuous or intervallic samples. There are many detector types as well; they are named after the process of separation and measurement. A few examples and the compounds they detect are as follows:
Barrier discharge ionization detector (BID) – all compounds except Ne and He
Electron capture detector (ECD) – electrophilic compounds
Flame photometric detector (FPD) – organic sulfur and phosphorus compounds like residual pesticides and malodorous compounds
Flame thermionic detector (FTD) – organic nitrogen and phosphorus compounds like residual pesticides
Thermal conductivity detector (TCD) – all compounds
How gas chromatographs work
A sample is injected into the GC and enters a gas stream. This gas is usually helium or nitrogen. The gas mixture is transferred to a separation tube where the components are separated and a detector measures them. This data is displayed on a screen or sent to a computer for further analysis. The method of separation and detection varies depending on the type of detector being used with the GC.
About gas chromatographs
Chromatography is a method of separating and analyzing compounds. Gas chromatographs (GC) inject a sample into a gas to carry it through the chromatography process. There are many types of injectors and detectors available on GCs.