Simultaneous analysis of atmospheric halocarbons and non-methane hydrocarbons using two-dimensional gas chromatography
A gas chromatographic system was constructed to simultaneously measure ambient non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) and halocarbons, which play significant roles in tropospheric ozone formation and stratospheric ozone loss, respectively. A heart-cut device based on a Deans switch was connected to two capillary columns to cover the full range of NMHCs and halocarbons. Analytes more volatile than C6 NMHCs and the halocarbon CFC-113 were separated with a PLOT column, while the remaining less volatile compounds were separated with a DB-1 column. Merge-and-split of the flows at the end of the two columns allowed the NMHCs and halocarbons to be observed simultaneously by electron capture detection (ECD) and flame ionization detection (FID). To avoid peak-overlap from the two columns while merging, programmed pressures were incorporated to control the Deans switch. In addition to the advantage of measuring two important classes of compounds in the atmosphere at the same time, this method has the additional benefit of using the homogeneity of atmospheric CFC-113 as an “intrinsic” internal reference. Thus, better data continuity, less consumption of gas standards, and real-time quality control can all be achieved.