Elemental analysis forms a necessary component of the analytical workflows of many laboratories. From food, pharmaceutical and fine chemical testing through to petrochemical, material manufacture and environmental applications; the quantification of elemental carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen (CHNS/O) in laboratory samples can provide a vital means of assessing product purity – be it for quality control or R&D purposes.
However, to analyze the full range of elements that may be present in a sample, laboratories are required to invest in multiple elemental analyzers. This is because carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen analysis conventionally cannot be carried out within one integrated instrument. Not only does this pose an issue for smaller laboratory facilities, such as cleanrooms, where space is at a premium, but the implementation of multiple analytical workflows increases sample preparation and data acquisition time, reducing efficiency. The use of integrated, highly accurate and automated analytical instruments that can conveniently fit into existing laboratory workflows is therefore sought after.
The Thermo Scientific FlashSmart Elemental Analyzer offers an innovative solution to these challenges by providing comprehensive elemental analysis capability in a single, automated, bench-top instrument.
The instrument is equipped with two independent furnaces, accessed by separate analytical circuits that are fully automated through the Thermo Scientific MultiValve Control (MVC) Module. This feature enables the analyzer to switch automatically from one analytical circuit to another, permitting CHNS/O determination in a single automated workflow for the first time.
For CHNS analysis, samples are introduced from the autosampler into the combustion reactor along with oxygen. Following combustion, the product gases are conveyed by helium flow to a reduction layer filled with copper, and passed through a gas chromatography (GC) column that separates the combustion products before being analyzed by a Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD). The GC column integrated in the FlashSmart Analyzer ensures reliable product separation, providing operators increased confidence in the quality of their data. The CHNS analytical workflow possesses a run time of less than 10 minutes per sample.
For oxygen determination, the instrument’s pyrolysis reactor filled with nickel coated carbon, maintained at a temperature of 1060 °C is utilized. The oxygen in the sample combines with carbon to form carbon monoxide, which is then separated from the other products by GC and detected by the TCD Detector.
The instrument can also be programmed to perform other combinations of elemental analysis, such as N/Protein determinations. The instrument’s simple sample preparation workflow means that, unlike alternative approaches for nitrogen determination such as the Kjeldahl method, no additional reagents are required.
By incorporating what would previously require two separate instruments into a single bench-top device, the FlashSmart Analyzer offers a convenient workflow solution for confined laboratory spaces.
The single instrument set-up also reduces preparation and analysis time, allowing the operator to perform in significantly less time. The ability of the FlashSmart Analyzer to perform unsupervised 24/7 automation can increase laboratory throughput by allowing multiple samples to be queued and analyzed in a single day.
Thermo Scientific EagerSmart Data Handling Software simplifies workflow automation and produces customizable user-friendly analysis reports, making the system easy to use from start to finish.
The MVC Module also ensures very low helium consumption by automatically switching from helium to nitrogen or argon gas when the instrument is in stand-by mode, significantly reducing analysis costs. Using the EagerSmart Data Handling Software, the system can even be programmed to wake-up and prepare for analysis the following day, further boosting laboratory efficiency.
Thanks to its unique design, the FlashSmart Elemental Analyzer offers a compact, automated and highly accurate approach to elemental analysis that can improve workflow efficiency and reduce running costs.
For more information, visit www.thermofisher.com/oea