Solid-Phase Microextraction
John V. Hinshaw, Serveron Corp., Hillsboro, Oregon, USA.
In this month’s “GC Connections,” John Hinshaw discusses solid-phase microextraction…
sensitive and selective separation technique all by itself. Capable of resolving hundreds similar applications. The principal difference inlet system that desorbs the solutes into a part-per-million (ppm, one part in 106) or is that SPE is performed with a relatively better sensitivity, GC has been applied to large sorptive surface the size of a small filter paper, and it requires liquid-phase extraction of analytes; SPME, however, is SPME absorptive layer as much as possible coated with sorptive material and primarily matrix effects. Non-volatile constituents, completely as possible for chromatographic large sample volumes as required for lower detection limits and less-than-ideal chemical favour solute release from the absorptive detection. Classic liquid–liquid extraction, preconcentration — as well as headspace, permit full use of column resolving power.
thermal-desorption and large-volume sample injection techniques — increase analyte accomplished using a discrete thermal trap applied to the analysis of organic matrices Connections” column discusses absorptive also apply to adsorptive SPME onto active matrix side effects after injection but are often limited by sample residue build-up.
Figure 1: Cross-sectional diagram of
within the past few months in the Journal relatively new sample extraction technique of Separation Science and the Journal of (a) a fibre device with external sorptive that brings some unique capabilities to the Chromatography include flower scents,1 solutions in difficult matrices, both liquid process impurities,3 organochlorine pesticides discrete steps: solute absorption from the sample matrix into a thick — relative to phenols in wine,7 environmental pollutants conventional capillary GC columns — layer in water samples,8 chloroanisoles in cork of silicone or related adsorptive material and stoppers,9 volatile aliphatic amines in air10 transfer of the analytes into a chromatography inlet system by gaseous or liquid means.
samples.11 This list delineates the breadth of SPME has significant potential to greatly applications to which SPME can be applied.
and the concomitant issues of used solvent SPME Principles
disposal as part of sample preparation.
SPME relies upon the extraction of solutes liquid chromatography (LC) separations.
layer. After a sampling period — during LC•GC Europe December 2003
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For analysing bulk samples contained in vials a limiting factor for the rate required to or otherwise easily accessed samples, SPME same thickness coated inside a tube [Figure can be performed, as shown in Figure 1(a), 1(b)] with inner radius (r2) would be the with a short, absorptive film–coated fibre.
same. The assumption in Equation 1 is valid instead of the liquid in a two-phase sample A short tube coated on the inside with an absorptive layer [Figure 1(b)] can also be liquid–gas interface before encountering the SPME layer. Interestingly, it makes littledifference to the ultimate equilibriumsolute amounts in the SPME layer whether The presence of a gaseous headspace over a liquid
the sample is obtained from the liquid orthe gas. However, the time to reach sample causes a portion of each solute to partition
into the headspace in competition with the extraction
the choice of the sampling phase. Non-polar process into the SPME layer.
and volatile solutes that strongly favour theheadspace phase will come to equilibrium more rapidly if the SPME layer is exposed layer chemistry and film thickness strongly the subsequent efficiency of desorption.
more rapidly directly from a liquid phase.
Step 1 — extraction: For the extraction
Influence of the headspace: The
characterize the equilibrium times for each absorptive layer, the layer is exposed to a solute of interest. If equilibrium is reached solute to partition into the headspace in in a reasonable time period — perhaps less into the SPME layer. This effect results in a sampling time at least that long. However, reduction of solute mass in the SPME layer if an unreasonably long time is required — stopped-flow sampling is also possible. The — relative to having no headspace present in terms of the time available for sampling gradually reach an equilibrium level with headspace volume and the partition ratios or the liquid sample and the SPME layer.
sampling time is used for each sample and These relationships are somewhat complex, solute, i ,in the SPME layer at equilibrium extracted solute mass on the relative liquid partition coefficients — both between the volumes throughout multiple samples to keep the SPME layer and the liquid — must also such multiple-phase influences consistent.
Time to equilibrium: A finite time span is
sample-to-sample consistency. Adding salt absorptive layer and the sample, VSPME is to an aqueous sample will often shift the the volume of the SPME layer, and Ci is the solute concentration in the sample before equilibrium will ideally occur before the Figure 2: SPME extraction from a sealed
volume is much greater than the volume of 10–100 µm — roughly 10-fold the film places at the SPME–sample interface. The process of absorption is limited by the rate capillary GC. The volume (VSPME) of a 1 cm at which solute molecules can replenish the long by 100 µm thick annular coating on a transition layer near the SPME interface.
Thorough stirring of the liquid phase helps influence of solute liquid-diffusion rates liquid sample does nothing to increase the diffusion rate of absorbed solutes inside the SPME layer itself, which then becomes www.lcgceurope.com
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partition coefficients for non-polar solutes The chemistry of the sorptive SPME layer plays a
in favour of the SPME layer and decreasethe time required to attain equilibrium.
significant role in enhancing or discriminating against
SPME-layer chemistry: The chemistry of
classes of compounds.
the sorptive SPME layer plays a significantrole in enhancing or discriminating againstclasses of compounds. For the most part, absorbed solutes to desorb with as close to prevent some degree of peak tailing.
stationary phases: polar SPME layers such time that is short enough to be compatible inlet systems are also well suited to SPME as those that contain polyesters or acrylates desorption because of their smaller internal the instance of an SPME layer coated inside discriminate against non-polar materials.
arrangement can switch from sample liquid temperatures as conventional split–splitless constituents will retain volatile components flow to the mobile phase for LC analysis.
vaporization heat-up rates — on the order desorption to come to equilibrium between to desorption as well — a very strongly the SPME layer and the liquid mobile phase without some form of additional stationary- held solute might be too difficult to pry off Step 2 — transfer: The next step after
sampling is to transfer the SPME layer and GC, primarily because of the instrumental phase. Analysts have no need to physically chromatographic separation; its simplicity and ease of use; and its reduced or non-existent solvent consumption. These characteristics device, however, will be removed from the the desorbed solutes into the LC injection extraction and classic liquid–liquid extraction.
where the solutes are to be desorbed.
preparation and injection techniques such Several trade-offs arise in the course of SPME lends itself well to handling difficult in-sample values to lower levels as solutes high enough so that the solutes leave the benefits of low cost and simplicity. SPME naturally desorb into their surroundings.
doesn’t require elaborate and expensive instrument accessories for occasional use, and yet it seems to be capable of delivering molecules can experience significant losses. for trapping solutes at the beginning of a In a laboratory situation, the transfer time necessarily be said of manual headspace or short enough that losses are insignificant.
thermal-desorption sampling. Autosamplers transport and storage by sealing the SPME bleed and from the SPME layer itself.
consistent operating conditions for success, fibre into a split–splitless inlet, the inlet split but this statement is true of the related desorption. In addition to volatile sample flow should be turned off so that all of the splitting. It is unlikely that enough sample valid use in analytical laboratories, and the transportation to and from remote sites.
necessitate sample splitting. A narrow-bore Enclosing the SPME layer will also prevent inlet liner — often called a splitless liner — for any of the other techniques. SPME has a significant place in analysts’ arrays of limiting the volume into which the solutes incorporate sealing systems such as these.
Step 3 — desorption: Once in place at a
been withdrawn from an inlet splitter, the References
P. Barták et al., J. Sep. Sci., 26(8), 715–721
LC•GC Europe December 2003
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G.L. Hook et al., J. Sep. Sci., 26(12–13),
1091–1096 (2003).
R.P. Frost, M.S. Hussain and A.R Raghani,
J. Sep. Sci., 26(12–13), 1097–1103 (2003).
L. Cai et al., J. Chromatogr. A, 1015(1–2),
11–21 (2003).
W.A. Araújo et al., J. Sep. Sci., 26(6/7),
624–628 (2003).
O. Pinho, C. Peres and I.M.P.L.V.O. Ferreira,
J. Chromatogr. A, 1015(1–2), 23–30 (2003).
R. Castro Mejas et al., J. Chromatogr. A,
995(1–2), 11–20 (2003).
H. Bagheri and A. Mohammadi,
J. Chromatogr. A, 1011(1–2), 1–9 (2003).
F. Bianchi et al., J. Sep. Sci., 26(5), 369–375
J. Namiesnik, A. Jastrzebska and B. Zygmunt,
J. Chromatogr. A, 1016(1), 1–9 (2003).
H.-H. Lin, Y.-H. Sung and S.-D. Huang,
J. Chromatogr. A, 1012(1), 57–66 (2003).
“GC Connections” editor John V.
is senior staff engineer at
Serveron Corp., Hillsboro, Oregon, USA,
and a member of the Editorial Advisory
Board of LC•GC Europe.
to “GC Connections,” LC•GC Europe,Advanstar House, Park West, SealandRoad, Chester CH1 4RN, UK, e-mail: [email protected] with John Hinshaw and otherchromatographers, visit theChromatography Forum discussion groupat http://www.chromforum.com www.lcgceurope.com

Source: http://homepages.onsnet.nu/~alkema/html/spme/article%20SPME.pdf


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