Eliminate Doubt, Discover the Unknown Compounds that are Key to Solving your Critical Challenges

Eliminate Doubt, Discover the Unknown.

Critical to your success as an analytical chemist, is the ability to determine the individual components in a sample where the most important compounds are usually not known.  The science of analytical chemistry, and its quest to answer the questions “What is there?” and “How much is there?” is used to test everything that affects us daily, including food and food safety, water quality, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals. As the leader in analytical thermal desorption, GERSTEL provides the necessary tools to eliminate doubt by discovering the unknown compounds that are key to solving your critical challenges.

Last year, a scientist at one of our training classes who works in a laboratory that does troubleshooting for a large corporation, commented that the way GERSTEL traps analytes in their thermal desorption systems is different than every other system she’d seen. She wanted to know why it was done that way.  Jack Stuff, our lab director, and Kurt Thaxton, our thermal desorption product manager, were on hand to provide answers.

Kurt mentioned that from the beginning, GERSTEL thermal desorption systems were designed to be as flexible as possible which requires them to be able to determine a very wide range of compounds. In order to achieve this, (while still incorporating analyte trapping required when performing thermal desorption), the system was designed to minimize the distance from the end of the thermal desorption tube to the head of the GC column and to reduce the interaction the analytes have with the trap. This eliminates places for compounds to ‘stick’ and/or be chemically altered. This “trap and forward flush” design was found to be the best way to ensure that all compounds got to the GC column with no discrimination.

This was the reason for the GERSTEL TDS 2’s initial success in the important field of car interior testing. At higher temperatures, large and polar molecules off-gas from polymers in these interiors and it is important to know what these compounds are in order to protect consumer health and reduce “fogging” of window interiors. 

Jack added that in environmental samples, GERSTEL thermal desorption techniques have been successful in trapping large molecules, such as Benzo [ghi] perylene a five-membered ring PAH.

Kurt described when the trap is used at a low temperature, he likes to call it “Trapping with Physics” since it can trap almost everything without the need for chemical adsorbents. Because of this, you can have confidence that you are not missing anything. The design also has the added advantage of doing this all in one run with one trap. In addition to identifying unknown compounds, you also get the added value of liquid injection for method validation!

Jack explained that for food and beverage samples, our Japanese colleagues have coined the phrase trapping from A to V, acetaldehyde to vanillin. For fragrance samples, we can trap very light compounds along with heavier materials, such as musks like galaxolide and versalide. For environmental samples, we have trapped VOCs like 1,1-dichloroethane and heavier molecules such as PBDEs, PCBs, and PAHs.

Like the scientist using our thermal desorption systems that visited our facility last year, we are proud to offer the same thermal desorption systems to all our customers. As the leader in analytical thermal desorption techniques, we provide the systems and accessories that allow determination of a full range of compound classes in a wide variety of matrices. To learn more about how we can help you eliminate doubt and discover your unknowns, please visit