Basic Information
Abstract Number: 13300-2000    
Author Name: Megan McGuigan Affiliation: The University of Michigan
Session Title: Materials Characterization
Event Type: Poster
Event Title: Comprehensive Two Dimensional Gas Chromatography Study of Tholin Samples Using Pyrolysis Inlet and TOF-MS Detection
Presider(s):   Start Time: ( Slot # 20 )
Date: 03/09/2004 Location:
Keywords: Capillary GC, GC-MS, Separation Sciences, Environmental

Co-Authors
NameAffiliation
Sacks, Richard DUniveristy of Michigan

Abstract Content
A comprehensive two-dimensional GC TOF-MS system with a pyrolysis inlet was used to study a group of tholin samples. Tholins are solid organic materials that are responsible for the thick haze that surrounds Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and are thought to have been present in the early Earth atmosphere. Tholins are produced in the laboratory by running a mixture of N2 and CH4 through an electrical discharge reaction cell and collecting the resulting solid material. Previous experiments have characterized tholin structure using IR and UV/Vis spectroscopy. In this study we use 2DGC-TOFMS to separate and characterize tholin components. Using this method, components are separated according to boiling point in the first dimension and polarity in the second dimension. A thermal modulator at the column junction point traps and focuses components as they come off the first column and then injects them into the second column as a narrow plug. TOF-MS detection allows for the identification of trace components in the tholin sample. Studies were done on tholins formed at different gas pressures, showing variations with structure. Identification of pyrolysis products by TOF-MS shows that tholins formed at higher pressures more likely contain nitrogen in a terminal functional group while those formed at lower pressures contain nitrogen in non-terminal positions. Additional studies show the effect of pyrolysis temperature on tholin analysis.