A Comparison of Nitrogen and Helium Purge Gas and Their Effect on Volatile Organic Compounds


Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe but makes up only 0.0005% of the earth’s atmosphere. Helium has many uses including cooling superconducting magnets for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and since it is inert, it can also be used as a carrier gas for Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). During purge and trap concentration, Helium is used to purge volatile analytes out of the sample matrix in order to concentrate them onto an analytical trap. Due to the Helium shortage, it has become necessary to find another means of purging analytes out of the sample. This application will examine using Nitrogen as the purge gas for purge and trap sampling.

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