Basic Information

Abstract Number: 250 - 3
Author Name: Paul J Dauenhauer - University of Minnesota
Session Title: The Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award (Dauenhauer)
Event Type: Awards
Event Title: Universal Carbon Detector (UCD) for Calibration-Free Quantification of Complex Mixtures

Presider Name:Resa Stauffer
Affiliation:The Pittsburgh Conference

Date: Monday, March 6, 2017
Start Time: 08:40 AM (Slot #3)
Location: W183b

Abstract Content

Quantification of chemical mixtures is the basis for modern chemistry and chemical process applications related to food, energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and agricultural technologies. Mixtures of organic chemicals can comprise hundreds of compounds, necessitating expensive and time-consuming separation and detection with conventional calibration techniques. In this work, we introduce a catalytic microreactor which allows for calibration-free quantification of organic compounds within gas chromatography[1,2]. Analyte compounds eluting a conventional gas chromatograph column flow into the microreactor, where a series of catalytic reactions convert each analyte to methane (>99.9%). Subsequent detection via flame ionization thus results in a common carbon response factor for all compounds. By this approach, mixtures of hundreds of compounds including sugars, aldehydes, organic acids, alcohols, thiophenes, and many other hydrocarbons can be quantified without calibration. Implementation of the Universal Carbon Detector (UCD) [3] simplifies chemical research and introduces new capability for analyzing mixtures. Elimination of calibration permits rapid analysis of large complex mixtures that exist in applications such as fuels. In particular, biofuel mixtures comprised of hundreds of highly oxygenated organic compounds benefit from the UCD; quantification (i.e. determination of carbon %) is greatly simplified. Additionally, the UCD permits the quantification of molecules such as carbon dioxide, which were not previously measurable without a second detector. Another benefit of UCD is the capability for quantifying compounds such as formaldehyde or formic acid, which exhibit low response in an FID – the UCD method increases the limits of detection of these compounds by one-to-two orders of magnitude.

[1] Analyst. 2016, 141, 1627-1632.
[2] Lab on a Chip, 2015, 15, 440-447.
[3] Activated Research Company. http://www.activatedresearch.com/