For the analysis of volatile compounds, a purge and trap (P&T) autosampler and concentrator system may be used to introduce samples. The target analytes are extracted and mixed with water and introduced into an airtight chamber. An inert gas such as helium is bubbled through the water; this is known as purging or sparging. The volatile compounds move into the headspace above the water and are drawn along a pressure gradient (caused by the introduction of the purge gas) out of the chamber. The volatile compounds are drawn along a heated line onto a 'trap'. The trap is a column of adsorbent material at ambient temperature that holds the compounds by returning them to the liquid phase. The trap is then heated and the sample compounds are introduced to the GC-MS column via a volatiles interface, which is a split inlet system. P&T GC-MS is particularly suited to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and BTEX compounds (aromatic compounds associated with petroleum).
Learn more about the EST Analytical Purge and Trap system here.