Agilent: 'It’s not just about analytical performance anymore. It’s about making GC easier'

The Intuvo 9000 GC System. Picture: Agilent

Agilent Technologies has added to its line of gas chromatographs saying it makes complex technology easy to use.

The Intuvo 9000 GC System is a high-end GC offering and does not replace any GC in the portfolio.

The instrument, especially when coupled with mass spectrometry, is for high-throughput contract laboratories and for labs dealing with challenging sample matrices in food, environmental, pharma and forensics testing.

Analytical performance is comparable to the Agilent 7890 GC System but cycle times have been improved by one to two minutes, depending on the application, due to heating and cooling technology.

Development with customers

Eric Denoyer, director of marketing, GC and Workflow Automation Solutions for Agilent, said during development it first focused on understanding the changing GC environment and user demographics, as well as user pain points.

Throughout the process we have worked with 12 thought leaders who volunteered their time and expert perspectives to help inform product development,” he told us.

Gas chromotography

What is Gas Chromatography?

Gas chromatography (GC) is an analytical technique that separates mixtures into their individual components utilising a mobile (gas or vapor) phase, allowing compound identification and quantification.

How does GC work?

In GC, a moving gas (the mobile phase) carries the sample across a stationary separation medium within the GC column (stationary phase). Volatile and semi-volatile components travel across the stationary phase while being pushed by the mobile phase. Sample components separate according to their differing affinity to the stationary phase as heat is applied

“All had experience, starting at the bench, and were now in management, so they could provide a complete context of the user experience. 

“We also consulted with hundreds of GC users, managers, scientists and enterprise executives to understand how implementation of GC in their operations could be improved. 

“Very early on in those conversations, a reoccurring theme appeared: It’s not about analytical performance anymore. It’s about making GC easier. It’s about making GC more practical and efficient for today’s busy lab, and driving a better business outcome for the enterprise where GC is mission critical.”

Intuvo is designed and manufactured by Agilent. Helium or other (e.g. hydrogen) carrier gas used as the GC mobile phase is supplied by the customer.

Leaks and improper installation, associated with improperly fitted ferrules or trimmed columns, are a major source of downtime, said Agilent.

Click-and-run connections eliminate ferrules, guard-chip technology extends column life, and the trim-free column gets rid of retention time shifts due to column trimming maintenance.

With Intuvo Flow Technology chips and Smart ID Keys, the Intuvo 9000 system self-identifies installed components and self-configures methods. Operations like mid-column backflush are made routine by eliminating complex setup and extra calculators.

Intuvo supports most of Agilent’s detectors for GC, said Denoyer.

“Perhaps the most popular detector for food analysis is mass spectrometry. And Intuvo has been designed specifically to be an ideal match for Agilent’s 5977 single quadruple family of mass spectrometers as well as Agilent’s 7000 and 7010 series of triple quadrupole mass spectrometers, which are very popular for food analysis.”

Agilent said it is compatible with autoinjectors including 7693A and 7650A for liquid injections and 7697A for dedicated headspace analyses.

Dimensions, materials of construction, and separation phases of the column mean that GC methods developed for conventional air bath ovens are transferrable to the Intuvo system.

Direct conductive heating

Denoyer said Intuvo uses a solid direct heater to conductively heat the GC column directly.

“Intuvo’s heater is a proprietary silicon-based composite structure assembled to achieve high thermal conductivity, strength and rigidity. Its special properties result in ultra-fast heating and cooling of the GC column, critical for routine ultra-fast GC applications,” he said. 

“Intuvo’s direct heating system heats GC columns as fast as 250C/minute making Intuvo an ultra-fast GC system. It also uses less than a half the electrical power, and takes half the lab bench space, saving money while reducing carbon footprint.”

Connection via smartphone or tablet notifies laboratory managers remotely of system status. OpenLAB CDS and MassHunter software can be used for all GC and GC/MS applications.

Shanya Kane, Agilent VP and general manager of the Gas Chromatography Division, said the system will make lab technicians feel like GC experts.

“Lab managers will appreciate the boost in productivity, and business owners will enjoy improved financial outcomes.”

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