Beginner’s Luck and Hyper-Fast GC
What are the ingredients of beginner’s luck? Sometimes it’s the right mixture of naivety, a lack of deeper knowledge and a handful of fortunate coincidences. Whatever the recipe, my journey into the world of flow field thermal gradient gas chromatography exemplifies the unexpectedly positive results.
Peter Boeker |
For a long time, my field of research has focused on electronic nose systems, gas sensors and odor measurements. And it was with this background that I jumped into more analytical approaches, including GC-TOF-MS, during the course of a security research project.
As always, I had written some pretty ambitious objectives into the proposal, with the aim of gaining the interest of the reviewers. In this particular case, I included the development of a fast GC system for near real-time explosives detection. Not too unrealistic, I thought – admittedly, without too much real experience in this particular field... Nevertheless, we were eager to please and full of ideas; we are always desperate to gain such funding because the research group consists of only two scientists, me and Jan Leppert – both essentially scientific freelancers without permanent positions. Indeed, we swing from one project to the next like Tarzan moving through the forest on unlikely lianas (to use an image from my childhood films). Unfortunately, unlike Tarzan, we are always in danger of missing the next one!
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