GC-API-MS for BDEs with N2 at BFR2016

OK Jack, enough of the acronyms; this isn’t a word puzzle…

Recently I let ChromaBLOGraphy readers know of our work on using gas chromatography (GC) with atmospheric pressure ionization (API) – mass spectrometry (MS) for analysis of brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs) employing nitrogen (N2) carrier gas, which was presented at BFR2016 (BFR standing for Brominated Flame Retardants, although the meeting has been expanded to include other flame retardants).  The gist of it was that with a selective GC column like our Rtx-1614 you can use nitrogen carrier gas to get approximately the same separation in the same time as when using helium carrier, even though nitrogen is less efficient under helium flow rate conditions.  The twist on this application is that the detector was a mass spectrometer.  If you’re thinking that nitrogen carrier gas results in extremely low detectability when using MS, you’re right, but that’s under typical electron ionization (EI) conditions; we used API instead, where nitrogen is not only tolerated, it’s used in the ionization process.  No sensitivity issues!  In fact, we were able to get down to the sub pg level for BDEs.  The “we” includes all my great co-authors, especially Karl Jobst at Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) who did most of the work, Eric Reiner and Terry Kolic at MOECC (longtime friends and colleagues), and Jaap de Zeeuw of Restek who inspired our recent nitrogen carrier gas work.  I also have to give a shout out to Cindy Ross, another colleague at Restek, who suggested years ago that nitrogen carrier gas work might be viable.

Here are some chromatograms for your inspection.  More later…

BDE Sep He N2

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