Nitrogen and on-site nitrogen generators
Nitrogen, for those who don’t know, is an inert gas meaning it is not very reactive with other elements and chemicals. Nitrogen is highly abundant, accounting for around 78% of the earth’s atmosphere meaning we breathe in more nitrogen than any other element every day.
Atomic number 7, nitrogen was discovered in 1772 by
Chromatography is defined as the separation of substances and a large number of labs conducting gas chromatography (GC) and LC-MS use nitrogen because it is inert, cheaply available and can even be generated from compressed air. Its inertness is the reason that nitrogen gas is highly desirable for GC and Mass
Nitrogen use in the lab
Nitrogen gas has been used in laboratory analysis for decades. In the past, labs were required to have their nitrogen gas supply delivered in cylinders or in bottles from their closest nitrogen plant, which for some labs could be some distance away. These cylinders or bottles would then supply a chromatography instrument, or perhaps a detector in the case of GC, allowing the lab to carry out its analysis.
However, for most mass spectrometers, a high volume of nitrogen gas is required meaning cylinders or bottles would be consumed in a matter of days, primarily when using LC-MS. This can lead to the regular interruption of analysis and inconvenience of switching over cylinders for analysis to continue. Furthermore, cylinders and bottles deliver inconsistent purity when they reach the lower end of their capacity as contaminants can enter the empty space in the cylinder and mix with the nitrogen. These impurities can have an impact on the integrity of analysis as they can react with the sample.
There is an alternative for nitrogen cylinders, an on-site nitrogen generator. A nitrogen gas generator not only removes the hassle of having to change over cylinders, it provides an uninterrupted supply of gas at a consistent purity. This consistency is generated using one of two technologies, namely, Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and membrane nitrogen generators.
Peak Scientific on-site nitrogen generators
On-site gas generation is also a safer solution than using cylinders. Staff
The landscape of laboratory nitrogen gas supply has been