Congratulations on winning the 2017 GC×GC Lifetime Achievement Award – what achievement are you most proud of?
I hope that the biggest achievement is still to come! But I’m proud that I have been able to steer the discussion in new directions. For example, when my group published work on stop-flow GC×GC – de-coupling the flow between the first and second column to improve resolution – it was met with a lot of skepticism. Back then, it was considered almost a blasphemy to say that you could stop the flow in the first columns and not ruin the separation due to excessive band broadening. Today, intermittent stopping of the flow in the first dimension is part and parcel of flow modulators. A total transfer valve-based modulator based on this principle has also been described. I would like to believe that our research helped overcome the preconceptions that prevented fellow scientists from exploring this idea in the past.
We developed one of the first modulators with no moving parts, and we have now developed a consumable-free modulator, which I believe could be a real step forward. The field settled on cryogenic modulation for GC×GC almost 20 years ago, but I believe there are better solutions out there.
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