Quo Vadis, Capillary Gas Chromatography?

How mature is capillary gas chromatography (CGC)? Are we close to the maximum achievable for daily routine analyses? Can we reduce or even stop research into CGC technology? Here, we offer personal opinions based on 30 years of service to the industry.

By Frank David, Koen Sandra and Pat Sandra

January 2017

Looking at all the different chromatographic techniques, capillary gas chromatography (CGC) is by far the most mature. Here, we define ‘mature technique’ as a technique that has reached a state of ‘satisfaction’, with a stable but low growth rate. Indeed, over the past decade, few groundbreaking developments have been realized in CGC. Since the invention of the technique by Golay in 1957 (1), most theoretical fundamentals of CGC were described in the 1960s and 1970s. Indeed, few studies have added valuable extensions to that fundamental work; exceptions include the papers by Blumberg and Klee (2), (3), who introduced novel and practical concepts, such as speed flow rates and optimal heating rates in CGC. Notably, this work has hardly been applied in practice for optimizing GC separations! Does this reflect that knowledge (and know-how) has been decreasing over recent years?

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  2. LM Blumberg, MS Klee, J Microcol, 12, 508–514 (2000).
  3. MS Klee, LM Blumberg, J Chrom Sci 40, 234–247 (2002).
  4. RD Dandeneau, EH Zerenner, J High Resolut Chromatogr, 2,
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  7. K Grob, On-Column Injection in Capillary GC, Hüthig Verlag, Heidelberg ISBN 3-7785-1551-9 (1987).
  8. G Schomburg et al., in Sample Introduction in Capillary Gas Chromatography, Volume 1, P. Sandra (Ed), Hüthig Verlag, Heidelberg, Chapters 4, 5 and 6 (1985).
  9. M Fang et al., Anal Chem 87, 10935–10941 (2015).
  10. S Boman, C&EN 93(42), 25–26 (2015).
  11. K Burgess, The Analytical Scientist, 38, 1819 (2016).
  12. P Sandra et al., Chromatographia 8, 499¬–502 (1975).
  13. K Grob, lecture presented at 23rd ISCC, June 5-10, 2000, Riva del Garda, Italy.
  14. JV Seeley, SK Seeley, Anal Chem, 85, 557–578 (2013).
  15. PQ Tranchida et al., Analytica Chimica Acta, 716, 66–75 (2012).
  16. MS Klee et al., J Chromatogr A, 1383, 151–159 (2015).

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