What is thermal desorption used for?
Wednesday, 7 December 2016 at 12:17:PM
Ambient air monitoring? Of course… but TD is used for a lot more besides, and in recent years the scope has been expanding further.
Our popular series of Application Guides have long been the ‘go-to’ source of information on TD applications, but as the last edition of
these dated from 2009, they were well in need of an update!
So a little while ago, we set about re-writing these documents
to reflect new standard methods, emerging trends in analysis, as well as the
latest exciting research from academia and industry. The result is our
brand-new set of seven Application Guides, which we released yesterday. (You can read our news release about it here).
As well as a sizeable number of examples on core TD
applications such as ambient air monitoring and assessing emissions from
consumer products, we’ve picked out a whole load of studies in new areas, from
food aroma profiling to forensics.
So what’s new?
Lots! To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the most
exciting application topics that have pages devoted to them:
from plants can influence other organisms, and researchers are using TD to
understand the fascinating details of this field of ‘chemical ecology’.
chemicals from wildfires have been studied using on-line TD in an aeroplane!
from air fresheners can be continuously monitored to understand how the
profiles change over time.
emissions used to be analysed by solvent extraction, but TD now features in
the key standard method in this area.
display cases can emit chemicals that cause artefact degradation – and this
is now being studied by TD.
fenceline monitoring is now being carried out using TD, following the
release of US EPA Method 325.
in breath are attracting attention for their potential to non-invasively
diagnose serious diseases.
from melons have been used to help assess whether VOCs could be used to
monitor the shelf-life of ready-to-eat fresh food.
aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air are now being studied using TD rather
than solvent extraction.
meat can be assessed to check for contaminants from packaging.
Collaborating with researchers
As part of the process of updating these Application Guides,
we wanted to expand our coverage of the latest research using TD. The
scientific literature is a great place to start, and although searching through
papers is quite time-consuming, it’s highlighted some great work carried out
using our equipment.
A few emails later, and the result is over 25 pages in these
guides that feature work from researchers around the world. For example, take a
look at the ‘Biological profiling’ e-book to learn about how TD is being used
to study emissions of monoterpenes from rainforest, carried out by Drs Angela
and Kolby Jardine at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus.
Alternatively, maybe forensics is your thing? The ‘Defence
and forensic’ e-book showcases a study by Professor Shari Forbes and colleagues
at the University of Technology, Sydney, who have been using TD to aid our
understanding of emissions of soil-borne VOCs from cadavers, and so improve the
response of emergency workers to natural disasters.
Across these applications and many others, it’s been very
interesting to talk to our customers about their research, and rewarding to
create case-studies describing how TD helped them achieve new insights into the
role of VOCs.
Easy to read and browse
Do you ever find that documents describing the uses of scientific
instruments are word-heavy, highly technical, and difficult to browse?
At Markes, we think that technical needn’t mean dull, so in
these Application Guides, we’ve made a big effort to keep the word count down,
liven the pages up with some colourful imagery and diagrams, and explain complicated
concepts as clearly as possible with the minimum of technical terms.
In addition to this, we hope that the addition of clickable
cross-references and hyperlinks to useful papers and application notes makes
these documents even more useful!
Want to judge for yourself?
So if you’d like to find out more about the applications of
TD – or even if you just want something different to look at over your lunch –
download one of the guides from http://chem.markes.com/AppGuides, and discover the numerous ways in which analysts are
making the most of its capabilities. I hope you enjoy looking through them.
David Barden received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cambridge University in 2004, and during his time as an editor at the RSC wrote news pieces for Chemistry World on various scientific topics. He is now Technical Copywriter at Markes International, where he draws on the expertise of his colleagues to explain how new thermal desorption and mass spectrometry technologies can be applied to analyse volatile organic compounds in a wide variety of situations.