Who Says There’s Nothing New Happening in GC Forensics?

From an analytical standpoint, GC/MS has been routinely used in forensics labs for decades. It was referred to as the ‘gold standard’ in analyte identification, until the ‘platinum standard’ (I’m sure some vendor coined that moniker) of MS/MS became commercially available. Even though we now have a lot of fancy new instruments at our disposal, GC/MS remains the workhorse in forensic laboratories, running methods that have been handed down from one generation of analysts to the next. In most cases, these methods work just fine, but there’s always room for improvement. One of our favorite pastimes here at Restek is optimizing chromatographic methods for the best performance possible – yes, we’re a population of glorious nerds. Fortunately, there are others in industry that enjoy optimization as much as we do. The folks at the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Forensics Lab let their geek flags fly and improved their GC/MS method for drugs of abuse by switching to hydrogen carrier and using a super-efficient small-bore Rxi-5Sil MS column. The result is some beautiful chromatography in half the time of their original method.

Chromatogram

 

In addition to doubling their throughput, they’re now better prepared for the upcoming helium crisis. In an industry where method development time is at a bare minimum, I’m really happy to see that customers are still actively improving their old GC/MS analyses. I’d also like to give my sincere thanks to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Forensics Lab for allowing me to share their data and story.

For more information on alternative carrier gases and fast GC, check out these blogs:

Simple translation of GC methods from helium to hydrogen carrier gas: http://blog.restek.com/?p=11102

BAC Analysis Using Hydrogen Carrier Gas: Get the Same Results at a Lower Cost! http://blog.restek.com/?p=6374

Fast Organochlorine Pesticide Analysis Using Hydrogen Carrier Gas with Split Injection GC-ECD: http://blog.restek.com/?p=7815

Fast(er) GC: How to Decrease Analysis Time Using Existing Instrumentation? Part V: Using Smaller Bore Capillary Columns: http://blog.restek.com/?p=3549

Half the Column, Same Chromatogram. Trimming your GC Column and Maintaining Resolution: http://blog.restek.com/?p=7899

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