Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

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    Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS)

    GC-MS is a chemical analysis technique widely used to identify chemical components, contaminants, and trace elements within a specimen. It combines two powerful techniques to separate and analyze constituents of, typically, volatile compounds. In the Gas Chromatography (GC) process, the sample is vaporized and carried over a packed capillary column, where they are separated. Sample constituents are identified by comparing them against reference standards. The components leaving GC are ionized and fragmented as they enter the Mass Spectrometer. A mass analyzer (e.g., a quadrupole detector) separates and analyzes the ionized molecules based on their mass to charge ratio (m/z). Peaks appear as a function of m/z, and these reproducible mass spectra are used to identify the molecules and perform quantitative analysis.

    Running GC tandem with multiple, variant MS detector units adds additional fragmentation steps for the sample components. Tandem MS is beneficial for identifying and analyzing targeted molecules, where low detection limits are required. Examples of such variants include GC-MS/MS or GC/MS-TOF (Time of Flight). Options like Selected Ion Monitoring (SIM) in MS are also available for quantitative analysis of trace components.

      Common Uses:

      • Identification and quantification of unknown samples
      • Quantification of contaminants in food testing and toxicology
      • Product quality testing and quality control
      • Trace element analysis
      • Chemical outgassing studies
      • Development of new testing standards


      GCMS Advantages:

      • Low detection limits (~pico grams)
      • Broad m/z range up to 1050
      • High efficiency and multi-stage separation of components
      • Higher specificity and reproducibility compared to LC-MS
      • Tiny sample required: µL for gases and liquids and 0.5-1g for solids



      • Solid and liquid samples need to be able to degas for analysis
      • Slow analysis time
      • Additional sample preparation steps required for non-volatile samples


      GCMS Industries:

      Food and Beverage Industry
      Plastics and Packaging
      Drug Testing
      Environmental Science
      Clinical and biological testing
      Compliance and Regulatory Testing
      Forensic Science
      Oil and Gas
      Evans Analytical Group (EAG)
      Intertek Group Plc.
      S&N Labs
      Dynalene Labs
      Innovatech Labs LLC
      Element Materials Technology


      More Details:

      Fundamentals of GC-MS and its applications
      Basics of operation: GC-MS
      GC-MS Instrumentation
      GC-MS Variants and their applications
      History of GC-MS
      GC-MS in regulatory compliance


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        FAQ on Gas chromatography Mass spectroscopy (GC-MS)

        Our material testing labs regularly provide gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) testing services, including trace element analysis, pyrolysis, thermal desorption GC-MS, and other investigative studies. The experts at Infinita Lab are proficient in GC-MS method development for sample-specific studies. 

        Thermal desorption study of materials with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)  starts from $390

        Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is used to extract organic or inorganic volatile components from solid, liquid, and gaseous samples and the quantification of elements. It is most commonly used for trace element analysis, identifying debris/contaminants in materials, outgassing studies, residual analysis, impurities, RoHS testing, etc.

        Both techniques work on the same principle. However, during the separation process, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) uses a gas phase to separate analytes, whereas a liquid solvent is used in liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS).

        While LC-MS cannot handle gaseous or volatile samples, it is useful for analyzing thermally unstable samples like biological fluids.