The Importance of Sample Preparation

Sample preparation is one of the most important steps in analytical chemistry.  Preparation can vary from extractions to dilutions to standard preparation. Attention to detail and accuracy are essential.  Analytical chemistry involves multiple steps. The first step is sample preparation and any error in the process will affect the final results.  Automation can remove costly errors and improve precision and accuracy while protecting the analyst from repetitive motion injuries and toxic substances.

Quantitative analysis requires not only sample prep but also standard prep.  When preparing a calibration curve, the analyst has to follow a recipe in order to ensure standard accuracy.  Any error in the standard preparation and the calibration curve will need to be re-prepped and re-run. Thus, valuable time and resources are wasted.   

Environmental standard preparation is essential for accurate results.  For USEPA Method 8270 Semi-Volatile Organic Carbon (SVOC) standards, a stock standard needs to be prepared and then diluted into the calibration curve standards.  USEPA Method 8260, 624 and 524 Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC) purge and trap standards require that a stock standard be made and then spiked into a series of forty milliliter vials filled with DI water.   Both types of standards are used to calibrate the analytical system and to verify that the system is working properly. If mistakes are made, time is lost.

Furthermore, laboratories are trying to limit the amount personnel exposure and usage of solvents, the automation of the sample preparation process can aid in both of these goals.  Liquid liquid extraction is a common technique for sample preparation, the automation of this procedure is beneficial and can save money on both solvents and personnel time.

The EST Flex Robotic Sampling Platform is capable of performing standard preparation and liquid/liquid extraction for small volumes.  The Flex can be placed on your benchtop for sample prep or installed on top of a GC system for both sample prep and sample analysis automation.  EST Analytical also sells the ePrep.  The ePrep is a liquid handling system capable of transferring volumes as small as 1µl up to as large as 10mL at one time.  The ePrep Sample Preparation Workstation utilizes a suite of innovative technologies to bring automation of sample preparation to every laboratory.  

If you are just getting started with automated sample preparation, contact us to reach one of our application specialists who would be glad to offer some tips and tricks. Feel free to look at some of our application notes which will help you on your way.

Application Notes

The preparation of Volatile Organic Standards (VOCs) for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Method 8260D is a tedious prospect.  Since the analytes in Method 8260D are volatile, standard preparation can be challenging. This application will demonstrate the capability to automate standard preparation for volatile organic standards.

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Sample preparation is one of the most important steps in analytical chemistry.  Attention to detail and accuracy are essential. For these reasons, many laboratories are interested in automating sample preparation procedures so as to limit the possibility of human error.  This application will explore automated standard preparation of Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds for USEPA Method 8270.

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Extraction of Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds from water involves using a large volume of solvent.  The advent of more sensitive Mass Spectrometers (MS) coupled with Large Volume Injection (LVI) onto the Gas Chromatograph (GC) has aided in better detection of PAH compounds.  In consequence, micro-extraction of PAH compounds from water has become a viable solution for sample preparation. This application will investigate an automated liquid-liquid extraction technique for the preparation of PAH water samples.

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Coffee is a requirement for many people to start their day.  In order to determine the amount of caffeine in coffee, many coffee producers use liquid-liquid extraction.  Assorted coffee blends will be extracted for caffeine using an automated liquid-liquid extraction technique with the intention of answering this question.

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Application Types

Related Instruments

FLEX Robotic Sampling Platform
Eprep
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