Analytical chemists in a broad range of fields must routinely separate and analyze complex chemical mixtures into individual’ species, some of which are present in extremely low levels. As the demand for research and industrial analysis continues to increase, rapid and accurate qualitative and quantitative analysis of such mixtures is essential. A technique of choice in the analysis of volatile chemical species is gas chromatography (GC), which separates chemical species on the basis of their differential affinity between a mobile gaseous phase and a stationary solid or liquid phase. After GC separation, each species can be analyzed by a variety of detection methods, including ultraviolet, infrared, flame photometric, fluorescence, and atomic-emission. Comparison of experimental chromatograms with known standards allows the chemist to identify and quantitate the presence of specific chemical species.

Hewlett-Packard Co., based in Palo Alto, Calif., has developed the first automated benchtop atomic-emission detector (AED) for gas chromatography....

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