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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S033343/1
Title: Multi-inlet comprehensive gas chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry
Principal Investigator: Langley, Professor GJ
Other Investigators:
Godfrey, Dr R Raja, Professor R Mills, Professor GA
Lubben, Dr AT Herniman, Ms JM Attard, Professor G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2019 Ends: 30 March 2023 Value (£): 856,023
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Chemical Synthetic Methodology Materials Characterisation
Waste Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Mar 2019 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In its simplest terms mass spectrometry is a technique for weighing compounds or molecules. This is achieved through an initial stage where the neutral compound becomes charged. This is called ionisation, and once ionised, these species (ions) can be separated using magnetic and/or electric fields.

For individual compounds analysis can be simple, but when dealing with mixtures other technologies are required. The mixtures need to be separated to identify the individual components; this is fundamentally separation science and there are a number of different ways to undertake this. The most common is called chromatography, which is a method of separating many different forms of chemical mixtures. Separations can be undertaken using gases or liquids. The combination of chromatography and mass spectrometry affords the most powerful modern day instrumentation for the analysis of complex mixtures.

This proposal will fund a multiple inlets gas chromatography mass spectrometer. This instrumentation will deliver advanced automated sample introduction techniques, separation of complex mixtures and advanced high resolution mass spectrometry to aid compound identification.

The inlets will provide seamless integration and automated sample introduction with no constraints on compatible sample types, e.g. large volume and low volume gases, headspace for gases and vapours above a sample, captured material and a probe to thermally degrade large species, e.g. polymers into measurable components.

Gas chromatography (one column) will afford separation of components in mixtures but for highly complex mixtures, 2-dimensional chromatography (two columns) are needed. The different columns enhance the separation of individual compounds and will separate of overlapping compounds.

High resolution mass measurement is used to determine the chemical formulae of compounds, this allows for species with the same nominal mass to be separated by differences in their chemical formulae.

The combination of cutting edge sample inlets, chromatographic separation and MS capability will deliver qualitative and quantitative analysis of novel and strategically important chemistries across a range of applications, and will be a unique capability within the UK academic sector. It will deliver a system capable of analysing challenging fuels and emissions for trace level materials, and will serve the research of the UK synthetic and catalysis chemistry communities who work with volatile compounds; the UK environmental scientists to detect low level pollutants in complex matrices, air-borne pollutants; and engineers researching the evolution of small organic gases, sulfur etc.

The new strategic equipment will support research across the Southern region. The science from the regional partners (Universities of Bath, Portsmouth, Southampton and Swansea) will develop the capability and subsequently be extended to other academic and industry researchers to form a Centre of Excellence to enable high-priority EPSRC research.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk