Recent advances in the application of 2-dimensional gas chromatography with soft and hard ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry in environmental analysis
Two-dimensional gas chromatography has huge power for separating complex mixtures. The principles of the technique are outlined together with an overview of detection methods applicable to GC × GC column effluent with a focus on selectivity. Applications of GC × GC techniques in the analysis of petroleum-related and airborne particulate matter samples are reviewed. Mass spectrometric detection can be used alongside spectral libraries to identify eluted compounds, but in complex petroleum-related and atmospheric samples, when used conventionally at high ionisation energies, may not allow differentiation of structural isomers. Available low energy ionisation methods are reviewed and an example given of the additional structural information which can be extracted by measuring mass spectra at both low and high ionisation energies, hence greatly enhancing the selectivity of the technique.