Over the years, many types of analytical instruments have been reduced to a portable or hand-held format to be used in the field, including XRF, LIBS, Raman, FT-IR and NIR analyzers. However, shrinking a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) to a field-portable configuration, whilst maintaining laboratory analytical performance, is a much greater challenge. Most of the previous attempts have utilized “point-and-shoot” approaches, which have not required any type of sample preparation or sample introduction accessories. For that reason, the practical value of a field-portable instrument is reduced significantly if it necessitates complex sample preparation or delicate procedures are required to introduce the sample into the gas chromatograph.
In this technical note, we describe results from a novel, field-portable GC/MS system (Torion®T-9, PerkinElmer Inc., Shelton, CT) for use as a rapid screening tool for semi volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and in particular phenolic compounds and phthalate esters in water samples with a typical analysis time of less than 10 minutes.