• Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry helps untangle molecular puzzles
    Molecules are being investigated using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry helps untangle molecular puzzles

Aug 02 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry reports on how gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is helping research teams to understand the molecular nature of substances by examining them at very low temperatures.

In an article entitled Let's Get Physical, Emma Davies looks at the prospects for physical chemists as a growing focus on applied science increases demand for expert scientists.

Among the examples she looks at is Mark Johnson of Yale University, whose research focuses on understanding different substances at the molecular level.

In the case of water, his team combines GC-MS with infra-red at cryogenic temperatures to stabilise the molecule and yield structural information about its proton chemistry.

He says: "Very cold ions are nice objects; we're not dealing with floppy systems at room temperature which are hard to characterise."

Mr Johnson is the Arthur T Kemp professor of chemistry at Yale University, where he has been a member of the faculty for 25 years.

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