Can I use an MS column for non-mass spec applications?

Some of you may have read my response in a past Restek Advantage, where I was questioned about the “MS” designation on some Restek GC columns.  I explained how the MS suffix is for a mass spec grade column.  These MS designated columns are tested and guaranteed for low bleed performance, which is ideal for sensitive detectors like a mass spec.  Another question, we receive about MS columns, is can I use a MS column for non-mass spec applications?  Can I use this type of column with an ECD, FID, FPD, or NPD?


The simple answer to that question is “You absolutely can.”  Using a column engineered for low bleed specifications is also beneficial with any non-mass spec detector.  Detectors such as an ECD or NPD are also very sensitive and selective.  In addition to low bleed, MS columns exhibit excellent inertness for better signal to noise ratios, reproducibility, and robustness.  Those are desired characteristics in all of your chromatographic assays.  The tight manufacturing quality controls used on MS columns ensure better performance.


Restek’s applications lab has generated numerous chromatograms using an MS column in conjunction with a non-mass spec detector.  Some quick examples are residual solvents, terpenes, drugs, and petroleum hydrocarbons.


The next time someone asks about the MS designation, in addition to mass spec, I plan to note Most Sensitive, More Stable, More Signal, Most Stringent (testing), etc.  The MS column is a great column to use with any detector.


In my next post, I will answer the question of can I use a non-MS column for mass spec applications.

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