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Summary Labs worldwide have recently found that helium has been in short supply, leaving a number of labs without carrier gas. Added to this, helium prices have doubled over the past 10 years causing a number of labs to look into alternative carrier gases for GC, such as nitrogen and hydrogen. As well as lower price and unlimited availability, hydrogen has a number of potential advantages over helium, including potential for faster throughput, improved chromatography and better sample resolution.
Helium is well known as Helium that makes balloons and airships float and in its liquid form, Helium is used in a variety of applications including cooling for magnets in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, cooling infrared detectors, and as a superconductor coolant in the large hadron collider at CERN.
Although there is now less concern about its availability, the price of helium is set to continue to increase meaning that cost-effective alternatives are still attractive to analytical labs.
The polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are among the most commonly analysed compound classes in environmental analysis. This article demonstrates how hydrogen carrier gas can be used in place of helium for GC-MS/MS analysis of these compounds.
Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, but on Earth it’s relatively rare, found trapped underground with natural gas and in the atmosphere, where it escapes into space.