How does GC-IMS testing work?

The best of both

So you want the selectivity of gas chromatography and the sensitivity of ion-mobility spectrometry? GC-IMS offers the best of both, giving it a wide field of application.

The ion-mobility spectrometer (IMS) is coupled to a short multicapillary gaschromatographic separation column. This means it is possible to separate and analyse individual compounds in complex mixtures.

GC-IMS allows us to separate and analyse individual compounds © G.A.S. Dortmund
GC-IMS allows us to separate and analyse individual compounds © G.A.S. Dortmund

As soon as the compounds of a sample have been separated by the GC-column, they are ionised and enter the ‘drift region’ of the IMS consecutively. The ions drift in an electrical field against the direction of flow of a drift gas (either nitrogen or clean, dry air).

Depending on their charge, mass, and shape, ions will reach different drift velocities, reaching the detector one after another. This produces a two-dimensional data matrix. Within minutes, the GC-IMS displays the results of the analysis in a colour contours image, making it possible to visually display differences between samples and a reference sample.

How can we help?

Odournet works with a gas chromatograph-ion-mobility spectrometer from the company G.A.S. Dortmund, which specialises in ion-mobility spectrometry. Our analyses are carried out by PhD scientists who specialise in odour/aroma and sensory matters, making our GC-IMS testing consistently robust and accurate. And, of course, Odournet also offers the benefit of more than 30 years’ experience in odour issues, giving us a unique perspective on your analysis requirements.

Need to know more?

Did you know that IMS trace analysis is used for airport security? At many airports, laptops and cameras are tested with IMS to find out whether they have been in contact with explosive substances.

For more information about GC-IMS testing, please email Hansruedi Gygax, our flavour and fragrance science expert.

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