Analytical Techniques: Chromatography

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Author: Jessica Ford

Editors: Anne Schaffer, Kari Rayner

Chromatography is a technique that physically separates components of a sample through either volatilization (gas chromatography) or solubilization (liquid chromatography), then conveys each component into a mass spectrometer at different speeds characteristic of their molecular structure. This technique yields precise identification of organic compounds and is capable of distinguishing between similar materials with a great deal of specificity; for example, chromatography can identify the specific type(s) of oil or resin present in a sample. The different chromatography systems have different specialties: high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with mass spectrometry is especially useful for identification of organic dyes such as lake pigments. Pyrolysis gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy (Py-GCMS) is most useful for identification of synthetic materials such as plastics, epoxies, and other polymeric materials. A non-reusable sample is required for all of these chromatographic techniques. (Mills and White 1999)

References[edit | edit source]

Mills, J. S., and R. White. 1999. The organic chemistry of museum objects. 2nd ed. Routledge.