Lumi presenting our chemical characterisation services.
As part of the celebration of the inauguration of or new laboratories MET staff provided conducted tours of our facilities.
Lumi explained the use of our analytical equipment and chemical characterisation services. In support of ISO 10993-18 and pharmaceutical container studies Lumi has at her disposal a wide variety of instrumentation. Here is a description of the most significant items.
Liquid chromatography - mass spectroscopy is used to analyse materials that are liquid at normal temperatures. Solvents are used to extract these materials from a device or container. The solvent containing the migrated materials is then injected into a tube containing a separation media which divides up the chemicals (this works just like blotting paper and ink). The materials are then presented to the mass spectrometer individually for analysis by mass. The spectrometer has similar technology an old fashioned TV with a cathode ray tube. The molecules are broken down by the electrons in the tube and accelerated towards a target. The time taken to arrive is related to the mass of the molecule and can be used to identify the chemical.
Lumi also has a variant of this machine called an LC-TOF. This Time of Flight instrument is extremely precise and helps in identifying unexpected materials by revealing their exact masses.
Gas chromatography – mass spectroscopy. This technology follows the same pattern as the LC. It analyses materials that are gaseous or volatile at normal temperatures.
This instrument is a GC-MS complimented by a heating system at the entry point to the chromatography tube. This allows it to analyse materials with greater volatility (lower boiling point) than those normally found in gas chromatography and liquid chromatography systems. It is called a Headspace GC-MS.
Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption. This instrument is loads of fun. It works in the same was as dropping salt onto your gas cooker’s flame. The flame will be turned from blue to orange. The orange colour is unique (actually its wavelength is) to the sodium in the salt. Every metal has its own range of colours and can be identified and quantified by this method. This is actually how we know the composition of stars, planetary atmospheres and interstellar gases. Movement of stars away from us stretches the wavelength of the light to be more red than we normally expect for the ‘metals’ present. This ‘red shift’ tells us the speed of the stars movement.
This analysis is similar to the atomic absorption. The equipment is less sensitive but works better for analysing multiple metals.