Entering the Fifth Dimension

The analysis of complex samples often demands multiple sample preparation and separation steps. Could we streamline the analytical method by combining five chromatography and mass spectrometry dimensions into a single automated instrument?

By Mariosimone Zoccali

December 2017

The problem

I spent most of my PhD and postdoc years analyzing foods and petrochemical derivatives using various chromatographic techniques, starting with gas and liquid mobile phases, and graduating to CO2 supercritical fluid. The samples I work with are very complex, encompassing not only multiple components but also a huge variety of chemical classes and concentrations. Moreover, most require a sample preparation step before the chromatography separation. Consequently, a number of different analytical techniques and sample preparation steps are usually needed to obtain reliable results. The challenging nature of such analytical methods led me to ask, “Is it possible to combine sample prep and complex analysis in a single fully-automated system?”