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GC-ICP-MS: A very sensitive hyphenated system for speciation analysis


Major challenges for interfacing GC to ICP-MS for speciation analysis are the avoidance of thermal degradation of the analyte species in the injector and column and condensation at the interface during transport from the end of the column to the ICP torch. Today, GC-ICP-MS interfaces are commercially available.

Fig. 1: GC-ICP-MS hyphenated technique

As can be seen from the development of publications related to GC-ICP-MS, the technique suffers from its somewhat limited applicability. Within the field of speciation very few compounds fulfil the requirements for its application, namely volatility and thermal stability. Most often, the analyst has to resort to chemical reactions to transform nonvolatile compounds (usually ionic) into volatile thermally stable compounds. Those reactions are known as derivatization reactions and may include hydride generation, ethylation, propylation, butylation or pentylation.

Fig.2: Publications related to GC-ICP-MS for speciation analysis

The main characteristics of GC-ICP-MS, in which it clearly differs from other atomic detection techniques such as MIP-AES, is its ability to provide isotopic information. This extra information can be used in two ways: to investigate the sources of elemental species, as in the studies performed on lead and sulfur, or to use isotope dilution methodology to study species transformation and to improve the quality of the analytical information obtained. We should expect more developments in this field as the combination of GC with multicollector ICP-MS and ICP-TOFMS instruments has only started to be evaluated.

Related EVISA resources

Brief summary: Gas chromatography for the separation of elemental species 

Resources related to analytical sciences
Resources related to mass spectrometry
Resources related to Chromatography
Resources related to quality assurance/quality control

Journals Database: Journals related to Gas Chromatography
Company Database: Professional Organizations relelated to Chromatography
Company Database: Manufacturers providing GC-ICP-MS systems
 Instrument Database: GC-ICP-MS coupling kits
Instrument Database: GC Systems
 Instrument Database: GC Autosampler (Liquid samples)
Instrument Database: GC Autosampler (Headspace)
Instrument Database: GC Autosampler (GC/SPME)
Directory of Scientists: Scientists working with GC-ICP-MS
Link Database: External information related to GC-ICP-MS

 Reviews of GC-ICP-MS (newest first)

J. García-Bellido, L. Freije-Carrelo, M. Moldovan, J.R. Encinar, Recent Advances in GC-ICP-MS: Focus on the Current and Future Impact of MS/MS Technology, Trends Anal.  Chem., 130 (2020) 115963. DOI: 10.1016/j.trac.2020.115963.

Renee N. Easter, Joseph A. Caruso, Anne P. Vonderheide, Recent developments and novel applications in GC-ICPMS, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 25/4 (2010) 493-502.
DOI: 10.1039/b924393n

Jose I. García Alonso, J. Ruiz Encinar, Separation techniques: gas chromatography and other gas based methods, in: Handbook of Elemental Speciation, Rita C. Cornelis, H.W. Crews, Joseph A. Caruso, Klaus Gustav Heumann, (eds.), John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, 2004, pp. 163-200. DOI: 10.1002/0470868384.ch4

Jorgelina C.A. Wuilloud, Rodolfo G. Wuilloud, Anne P. Vonderheide, Joseph A. Caruso, Gas chromatography/plasma spectrometry-an important analytical tool for elemental speciation studies, Spectrochim. Acta, Part B, 59/6 (2004) 755-792. DOI: 10.1016/j.sab.2004.03.009

Brice Bouyssiere, Joanna Szpunar, Gaëtane Lespes, Ryszard Lobinski, Gas chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric detection (GC-ICP MS), Adv. Chromatogr. (N.Y.), 42 (2003) 107-137. DOI: 10.1201/9780203911266-9

Brice Bouyssiere, Joanna Szpunar, Gaëtane Lespes, Ryszard Lobinski, Gas chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric detection in speciation analysis, Spectrochim. Acta, Part B, 57/5 (2002) 805-828. DOI: 10.1016/S0584-8547(02)00024-1

Freddy C. Adams, M. Ceulemans, S. Slaets, GC Hyphenations for Speciation Analysis of Organometal Compounds, LC-GC Europe, 14/9 (2001) 548-563.

Ryszard Lobinski, Freddy C. Adams, Speciation analysis by gas chromatography with plasma source spectrometric detection, Spectrochim. Acta, Part B, 52/13 (1997) 1865-1903. DOI:10.1016/S0584-8547(97)00093-1

Studies on the instrumentation and instrumental parameters of GC-ICP-MS

M.J. Watts, A.W. Kim, D.S. Vidler, R.O. Jenkins, J.F. Hall, C.F. Harrington, Construction and evaluation of a low cost interface for the determination of elemental speciation by Gas Chromatography Coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (GC-ICP-MS), Instrum. Sci. Technol., 35/1 (2007) 15-31.  DOI: 10.1080/10739140601000616

Dietmar Glindemann, Gunter Ilgen, Reimer Herrmann, Thomas Gollan, Advanced GC/ICP-MS design for high-boiling analyte speciation and large volume solvent injection, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 17/10 (2002) 1386-1389. DOI: 10.1039/b109951p

Isaac Rodriguez-Pereiro, Sandra Mounicou, Ryszard Lobinski, Vladimir Sidelnikov, Youri Patrushev, Michiko Yamanaka, Species-selective analysis by microcolumn multicapillary gas chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry detection, Anal. Chem., 71/20 (1999) 4534-4543. DOI: 10.1021/ac990525d

María Montes-Bayón, Manuel Gutiérrez Camblor, Jose Ignacio García Alonso, Alfredo Sanz-Medel, An alternative GC-ICP-MS interface design for trace element speciation, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 14/9 (1999) 1317-1322. DOI: 10.1039/a901760g

John Poehlman, Brian W. Pack, Gary M. Hieftje, A heated transfer line for coupling GC with plasma source spectrometry, Int. Lab., 29/4 (1999) 26-29. DOI: 10.1039/a809296f

Sofie Slaets, Freddy Adams, Isaac Rodriguez Pereiro, Ryszard Lobinski, Optimization of the coupling of multicapillary GC with ICP-MS for mercury speciation analysis in biological materials, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 14/5 (1999) 851-857. DOI: 10.1039/a809296f

G. Pritzl, F. Stuer-Lauridsen, L. Carlsen, A.K. Jensen, T.K. Thorsen, A versatile capillary gas chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer interface, Int. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. , 62/2 (1996) 147-159. DOI: 10.1080/03067319608027061

T. De Smaele, P. Verrept, Luc Moens, R. Dams, A flexible interface for the coupling of capillary gas chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Spectrochim. Acta, Part B, 50/11 (1995) 1409-1416. DOI: 10.1016/0584-8547(95)01351-6

Gregory R. Peters, Diane Beauchemin, Characterization of an Interface Allowing either Nebulization or Gas Chromatography as the Sample Introduction System in ICPMS, Anal. Chem., 65/2 (1993) 97-103. DOI: 10.1021/ac00050a002

 Instrument manufacturer's application notes (newest first)

Agilent Technologies: #5991-5894EN: Sub-ppb detection limits for hydride gas contaminants using GC-ICP-QQQ

Agilent Technologies: #5991-4398EN: An Examination of the Presence, Formation, and Transformation of Volatile Halogenated Organic Species in Wastewater Extracts Using GC-ICP-MS

Agilent Technologies: #5990-9473EN: Handbook of Hyphenated ICP-MS Applications (Second edition, 2012)

 Agilent Technologies: #5989-6160EN: Handbook of Hyphenated ICP-MS Applications (First edition, 2007)

 Agilent Technologies: #5989-1615EN: PBDE Analysis by GC-ICP-MS: Rapid, sensitive detection of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, September 2005.

Agilent Technologies: #5988-9880EN: Steven M. Wilbur, Emmett Soffey, Quantification and Characterization of Sulfur in Low Sulfur Reformulated Gasolines by GC-ICP-MS, August 2003

Agilent Technologies: #5988-9461EN: Juris Meija, Maria Montes-Bayon, Joseph A. Caruso, Speciation of Volatile Selenium Species in Plants using GC/ICP-MS, August 2003

Agilent Technologies: #5988-9294EN: Ed McCurdy, Steve Wilbur, Glenn Woods, Determination of Sulphur Species and Total Sulphur in Fuels, Using GC-ICP-MS, March 2003

 Agilent Technologies: #5988-6697: R. Wahlen, A Comparison of GC-ICP-MS and HPLC-ICP-MS for the Analysis of Organotin Compounds, July 2002

Agilent Technologies: #5988-4332EN: Technical Features of ICP-MS Plasma Chromatographic Software

Agilent Technologies: #5988-3071EN: Agilent GC-ICP-MS Interface technology

Agilent Technologies: #5980-0336E: Michiko Yamanaka, O.F.X. Donard, Speciation of Organotin Compounds, Using a Newly Developed, Experimental GC-ICP-MS Interface

Agilent Technologies, 2002: Ed McCurdy, Glenn Woods, Raimund Wahlen, New Applications of GC-ICP-MS

Gerstel AN 2002-06: Marie-Pierre Pavageau, Eva M. Krupp, Olivier F. X. Donard, Eike Kleine-Benne, Analysis of Volatile Metalloid Species in Gas Samples using a Commercial Cryotrapping System (TDS-G-CIS GC) Coupled to ICP-MS with PH 3 and SF 6 as example compounds, 6/2002

PerkinElmer: D-10403A:  Joaudimir Castro, Emmanuel Tessier, Olivier F.X. Donard, K. Neubauer, Mercury Speciation in Biological Tissue and Sediments by GC/ICP-MS

PerkinElmer: D-11029: Joaudimir Castro, Emmanuel Tessier, Kenneth Neubauer and Olivier F.X. Donard, Speciation of Organotin Compounds in Biological Tissues by GC/ICP-MS

Thermo Scientific: #30127 (2009): Shona McSheehy, Julian Wills, Hans-Jürgen Schlüter, Torsten Lindemann, Meike Hamester, Speciation of Trace Elemental Species using

Thermo Scientific: #30153 (2008): Shona McSheehy, Meike Hamester, Torsten Lindemann, Hans-Jürgen Schlüter, Julian Wills, Simultaneous Mercury and Tin Speciation using GC-HR-ICP-MS

Thermo Scientific: Poster WPC 01/2008: Torsten Lindemann, Shona McSheehy, Meike Hamester, A New GC Interface for Sector Field ICP-MS

 Thermo Scientific: #40744: Martin Nash, Shona McSheehy, Determination of Butyltins in Waters and Leachates using GC Coupled with XSeries II ICP-MS

 Thermo Scientific: #40721: Martin Nash, Eva Krupp, Shona McSheehy, Determination of Methylmercury in Fish by GC Coupled with X Series ICP-MS

 Thermo Scientific: #40698: Martin Nash, Eva Krupp, Determination of Organo-Tin Species in Sediment Extracts Using GC Coupled with X Series ICP-MS

Thermo Scientific: Product Specification: Coupling the X Series Quadrupole ICP-MS with Gas Chromatography for Elemental Speciation Analysis

Thermo Scientific: Product Specification: Thermo Scientific GCI Series Interface

 Other web resources:

Agilent Technologies: Elemental Speciation Measurement - Combining Chromatography and ICP-MS
Agilent Technologies: Gas Chromatography (Web portal)
Analytical Chemistry Resources: Gas Chromatography
Thermo Scientific: Gas Chromatography (Web portal)

EVISA News related to GC-ICP-MS for speciation analysis (newest first)

September 12, 2023: Chlorine speciation analysis in complex hydrocarbons using GC-ICP-MS/MS

August 12, 2020: Tin and mercury content and speciation in red wine from different countries

February 17, 2020: Cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes in archived German freshwater fish samples covering a period of two decades
November 7, 2018 Quantification of polybrominated diphenyl ethers by means of GC-ICP-MS
May 14, 2017: Multielement speciation analysis ( 14.05.2017 )
October 7, 2007: Agilent Technologies publishes Handbook of Hyphenated ICP-MS Applications
August 19, 2007: Thermo Fisher Scientific Introduces Speciation Analysis Capabilities For High Resolution ICP-MS
August 29, 2005: Is methyl mercury limiting the delight of seafood ? - To answer this question is a challenge for elemental speciation analysis


Further chapters on techniques and methodology for speciation analysis:

Chapter 1: Tools for elemental speciation
Chapter 2: ICP-MS - A versatile detection system for speciation analysis
Chapter 3: LC-ICP-MS - The most often used hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Chapter 4: GC-ICP-MS- A very sensitive hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Chapter 5: CE-ICP-MS for speciation analysis
Chapter 6: ESI-MS: The tool for the identification of species
Chapter 7: Speciation Analysis - Striving for Quality
Chapter 8: Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry as a Detection System for Speciation Analysis
Chapter 9: Gas chromatography for the separation of elemental species
Chapter 10: Plasma source detection techniques for gas chromatography
Chapter 11: Fractionation as a first step towards speciation analysis
Chapter 12: Flow-injection inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for speciation analysis
Chapter 13: Gel electrophoresis combined with laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for speciation analysis
Chapter 14: Non-chromatographic separation techniques for speciation analysis

last time modified: March 10, 2024


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