In the first part of our series on headspace analysis, we covered the basics, from defining what it is and how it saves labs time and money to its uses in modern labs. In part two, we detailed how analysts can achieve the best performances using headspace/gas chromatography (GC) and the importance of correctly preparing samples for analysis. In the third part, we will focus on the three common techniques that are used to transfer a headspace sample from the vials to the GC. These include gas-tight syringe injection, balanced-pressure systems and pressure-loop systems.
Troubleshooting analytical instrumentation can be a cumbersome process. If we remember a few rules, the task can be simplified. First, take a moment to review the manuals for the instrumentation. Second, examine the facts and use valid reasoning to identify the root cause of the problem. Concentrate on anything that may have changed, like a column, trap, etc. Avoid “quick fixes” as they may cause more problems down the road. The most important thing is to be patient.