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What Role Do Autosamplers Perform in Gas Chromatography?

Chromatography is a scientific process consisting of many laboratory techniques used to separate a mixture. A mixture is first dissolved in a fluid or gas and then carried to another material to create a stationary phase. This process separates the mixture by facilitating a specific speed of travel along with other factors. Chromatography may be used as a purification technique or for measuring analyte proportions in a mixture. An analyte is the actual substance being submitted to the separation process. The idea is to make one part of the mixture stationary or immobile and the other mobile to cause separation. An autosampler is often used in these lab settings to increase accuracy during the sample insertion portion of the separation process. This instrument inserts the sample into the apparatus inlets during a test for increased efficiency as well as easier reproduction. It has become the most common method for completing various types of chromatography techniques.

Analytical InstrumentsInvolved With Compound Separation Lab Techniques

Gas chromatography (GC) is one of the most common applications for sampling analytical instruments. It is used to test any compound capable of vaporizing without going through a decomposition process. GC can help laboratories test substance purity, separate specific mixtures, identify compounds, and create a pure version from a solution. Helium or a nonreactive gas acts as the carrier in the mobile phase whereas a liquid inside a column is present for the stationary phase. The gas compound reacts with the stationary phase material inside the column causing the compounds to elute at different retention times. Specially designed instruments allow scientists to compare the retention times for analytical purposes.

A chromatograph is an analytical instrument used to assist with complex sample chemical separation. It uses the column to send the sample through a gas stream at a specific rate of speed to create a desired interaction with the used column filling during the stationary phase. The stationary phase facilitates separation of the solvent compounds with each one leaving the column at varying retention times. Gas flow rate, temperature, and column length may be altered to change the separation order or retention time. A specified gas or liquid volume is inserted into the column either manually or automatically with specially designed equipment. Motion is created by molecule absorption which directly determines the rate of molecule progression. The stationary phase materials, absorption strength, and molecules types affect progression.

An autosampler is a tool used to achieve insertion into the column automatically. The insertion point is often referred to as an inlet and can be in the form of a split, split less, on-column, purge-and-trap, gas switching valve, or PTV injector. Manual insertion leaves room for error which can compromise the test results and also takes much more time. Most laboratories today use automatic injection to obtain more reliable results as well as optimize testing time. Samplers are classified based on the sample capacity, analytical purpose, or the type of technology. They are used for various separation processes including the measurement of volatile organic compounds. Automatic sampling systems have greatly improved the process of gas chromatography as well as other forms of compound separation.