The present investigation is focused on a simple flow modulator (FM), for comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC). The interface is stable at high temperatures, and consists of a metallic disc (located inside the GC oven) with seven ports, which are connected to an auxiliary pressure source via two branches, to the first and second dimension, to a waste branch (linked to a needle valve) and to an exchangeable modulation loop (2 ports). The ports are connected via micro-channels, etched on one of the inner surfaces of the disc. Modulation is achieved using a two-way electrovalve, connected on one side to the additional pressure source, and to the two metal branches, on the other. An FM enantio-GC x polar-GC method (using a flame ionization detector) was optimized (a 40-mu L loop was employed), for the analysis of essential oils. As an example, an application on spearmint oil is shown; the method herein proposed was subjected to validation. Finally, an FM GC x GC diesel experiment was carried out, using an apolar-polar column combination, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the modulator in the analysis of a totally different sample-type. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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