Subscribe to Newsletter
Fields & Applications Environmental, Mass Spectrometry, Technology

Empowerment Through Performance

sponsored by Waters

For Waters, customer collaboration is at the core of its innovation efforts – and its latest generation of tandem quads. The goal? To continue to refine and improve solutions that scientists around the world need to keep our food and water safe, and our bodies healthy.

One problem when looking for a solution is the threat posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are synthetic chemicals that, due to their extreme stability, physical, and chemical properties, are heavily used in industrial and consumer products, including nonstick coatings and waterproofing materials. Numbering in the thousands and highly persistent in humans, animals, and the environment, PFAS are increasingly regulated to reduce harm in ecosystems and society.

To better understand the impact of PFAS – in terms of their persistence and toxicity – and to assist governments as they develop plans to remove them from our environment, detection at low concentrations is key. That’s why Waters has developed a comprehensive solution for PFAS analysis, which includes QC-tested sample preparation, the ACQUITY™ Premier UPLC™ System, the Xevo TQ-MS Family, waters_connect™ for Quantitation, MassLynx™, Professional Services PFAS specific training, and PFAS certified reference materials and proficiency testing.

In particular, the Xevo TQ Absolute MS with enhanced negative ionization aims to strengthen analytical game plans with PFAS detection levels as low as single-digit parts-per -quadrillion (ppq) in a compact and sustainable tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer.

Absolute performance

The Xevo TQ Absolute MS empowers customers to achievelower limits of quantitation with up to 15 times more sensitivity for challenging negative ionizing compounds than the previous Xevo TQ-XS product, helping analysts confidently meet regulatory requirements.

In fact, the negative ion performance of the Xevo TQ Absolute – along with the Waters QC tested Oasis™ WAX for PFAS and the use of the Waters PFAS Kit – allow users to achieve as low as 0.001 ng/L sensitivity. Meanwhile, waters_ connect for Quantitation alleviates data review bottlenecks and reduces training burden – not only improving productivity but also boosting confidence in PFAS analysis. Customers are able to push beyond the current boundaries of PFAS analysis by accelerating time-to-results and capabilities with on-site PFASspecific professional services consultation and training support. Additionally, with Waters ERA proficiency testing and certified reference materials, you can demonstrate competency, ensure quality in your workflow, and confidence in your data while keeping pace with evolving analytical methods.

In addition, many businesses are trying to actively address environmental sustainability while also reducing operational costs. The Xevo TQ Absolute achieves 50 percent lower electricity consumption, gas consumption, and BTU/hr output – lessening the need for air conditioning and lowering costs, while allowing users to meet their sustainability goals. The Xevo TQ Absolute also provides more analytical capability per square foot of lab space by minimizing the LC-MS/MS footprint, so laboratory managers can fully optimize their facilities and increase efficiency.

Absolute impact

The 2022 US EPA Health Advisory Levels (HALs) regulation for PFAS detection sets limits as low as 0.004 ng/L in drinking water. This requires a carefully designed and executed workflow, an analyte enrichment step, ultra high-performance liquid chromatography, and a highly sensitive mass spectrometer.

Waters has demonstrated that a combination of water sample enrichment using SPE extraction (with Oasis WAX), analysis (performed on a Waters ACQUITY Premier UPLC and Xevo TQ Absolute MS), and data analysis (using waters_ connect for Quantitation software) can reach quantification limits of 0.001 ng/L for PFOA, PFOS, and PFBS, and 0.004 ng/L for GenX (HFPO-DA) – all of which outperform the US EPA updated 2022 interim HALs.


By Stephan Lebertz, Operational Laboratory Manager at SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS GmbH

As a contract lab, we need to offer analyses that differentiate us from other labs on the market. With the Xevo TQ Absolute – which we purchased alongside the Premier LC System in December 2022 – we are able to meet our customer’s challenging LOQ requirements thanks to the excellent sensitivity in negative mode – especially for m/z values below 200, which is essential for PFAS analysis. The UniSpray™ ion source boosts sensitivity further while maintaining great robustness – even with complex samples.

The Premier LC and Premier columns are an added benefit and help to solve chromatography challenges that result not only from the large suite of PFAS compounds that we need to be able to run in one method, but also from the very complex matrices that require maximum separation power to avoid interferences. And besides the great performance and design, the Waters system also saves the lab energy costs and space efficiency – helping us to optimize from a carbon footprint point of view.

You can find out more about this application online

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Analytical Scientist and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

Register to The Analytical Scientist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine