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Trace Organic Analysis by Gas Chromatography with Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Matthew M. Booth,
  2. David H. Powell

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0876

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Booth, M. M. and Powell, D. H. 2006. Trace Organic Analysis by Gas Chromatography with Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Gas chromatography (GC) with quadrupole mass spectrometry (MS) is one of the most powerful and widely used analytical techniques. This technology combines the high resolving power of GC with the excellent sensitivity and chemical-structure-informing power of quadrupole MS. The combination of these two techniques provides both the selectivity and sensitivity needed for qualitative and quantitative analysis of organic analytes at trace levels in a wide variety of matrices.

This article provides an overview of the development and combination of these two technologies. Types of quadrupole mass spectrometers that are commonly coupled to gas chromatographs are discussed. Both electron ionization (EI) and chemical ionization (CI) are reviewed. Sample preparation methods are discussed for air, water, and solids. The different approaches employed for highly volatile and semi-volatile substances are presented. The use of chemical derivatives to improve sample response and various instrumental analysis considerations are also covered.