Helium Alternatives for GC-VUV Technology
For decades, helium has been the gold standard of carrier gases for gas chromatography (GC). It provides reasonable analysis times, and it’s both safe and inert, making it an ideal choice for most GC applications. However, helium is a non-renewable resource. It’s very difficult to extract helium from the atmosphere, so it must be mined from natural gas deposits. Sources of helium are running out, driving up prices and creating strain on labs around the globe.
Helium use can be reduced or eliminated by employing alternate carrier gases, such as hydrogen or nitrogen. However, for various reasons, many GC detectors are incompatible with these alternate carrier gases, forcing labs to simply absorb the rising helium prices. Vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectroscopy overcomes these incompatibilities and provides helium-equivalent results without major sacrifices in analysis time or quality.
- Current status of the helium shortage
- Factors to consider when switching to a different GC carrier gas
- Advantages of VUV spectroscopy over other GC detection methods when using nitrogen or hydrogen