Gas Chromatography : Module 2

Evolution of Gas Chromatography

“Tell me and I’ll forget :  show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand” —Chinese Proverb 

Column Chromatography



Chromatography originated in early 1900 when Russian Botanist Mikhail S. Tswett separated plant pigments using calcium carbonate packed glass columns. It was not until mid century that the technique was applied to develop paper chromatography, High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography.

Chromatography helps isolate almost all components present in a mixture in pure form instead of just a single component starting with a small amount of the mixture (nano grams or microliter quantities). This was not possible earlier as the conventional methods were time consuming, required larger amount of sample and expensive solvents for isolation of a single component only. This important advantage contributed to the phenomenal growth and applications of different chromatographic techniques.

Martin and James in 1952 introduced Gas Chromatography in its present form and since its introduction it has become a premier technique of organic analytical separations with applications ranging from natural compounds, environmental studies, forensics and significantly in petroleum/ petro chemicals industry. GC permitted not only the rapid determination of already known components of complex mixtures but also revealed the presence of trace compounds that were not even known earlier.
Perkin Elmer introduced the first commercial Gas Chromatograph, model 154 Vapour Fractometer in the year 1955. Ever since growth of the techniques has resulted mainly due to advances in technology notably.

Injection Techniques

• Micro Syringes
• Packed column injectors
• Split/ Splitless capillary column injectors
• Automated Liquid Injectors
• Pyrolysers
• Thermal Desorption
• Sampling Valves


• Packed Columns
• Fused Silica Capillary Columns


  • Flame Ionization Detector
  • Thermal Conductivity Detector
  • Electron Capture Detector
  • Mass Spectroscopic Detector
  • Flame Photometric Detector
  • Nitrogen Phosphorous Detector

 Special Application Configuration

• Natural Gas Analyzers
• Refineries Gas Analyzers
• Dissolved Gas Analyzers
• Simulated Distillation Analyzers
• Portable Gas Analyzers
• On line Gas Analyzers
• PONA/ PIONA Analyzers

The greatest impetus to the evolution of gas chromatography has been through introduction of hyphenated techniques such as GC-MS, GC-MS-MS, GC-HS, GC-FT-IR and GC-TGA-FT-IR which have further broadened the applications range of GC.

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