Monday, May 23, 2011

Far UV Absorbance Detector-The FUVAD

The Far UV Absorbance Detector

"Theory-Most organic and inorganic species absorb strongly in the far UV (FUV). Notable exceptions are the inert gases, helium and nitrogen which absorb very weakly in this region. Certain
diatomic species such as O which have low absorption in the region of the lamp energy 2 (124 nm) will have a poor response but low ppm levels can still be detected.

The far UV detector is relatively new to gas chromatography (compared to other  GC detectors) since it was introduced by HNU Systems in 1984. It is frequently compared with the thermal conductivity detector since it will respond to any compound that absorbs in the far or vacuum UV. The latter name is a misnomer since with a carrier gas flowing through the cell, a vacuum is not needed. Thus, the detector has a response that is nearly universal, a low dead volume (40 µl), and a fast electrometer time constant.
The primary emission from this lamp is the 124 mn line. Although there are visible lines from this lamp, the photodiode is unresponsive to any long wavelength UV or visible emissions and only the absorption at 124 nm needs to be considered for the absorption

The minimum detection limits for organic compounds, oxygen, water, and
inorganic compounds are in the range from 0.1 to 10 ppm. A summary of the detection limits for organic and inorganic compounds is given in Table I.

Table I
Detection Limits for the FUV Detector

Compound Detection Limit (ng)
Sulfur dioxide 0.7
Methane 0.3
Oxygen 14
Water 3
Propane 1
Chloroform 5
Ethylene 1
Hydrogen sulfide 3

The HNU Far UV Detector (FUV) utilizes a simple, compact detector consisting
of a stable UV source, absorption cavity (1 cm path), and novel UV photodiode. The  detector has a universal response to all species which absorb in the 120 nm region. See Figure _ below. No response is observed for for noble gases or nitrogen. Thus, helium or nitrogen make ideal carrier gases. The
detector responds in accordance with the Lambert Beer Law:

I = Io e-kx

where I = Measured intensity

Io = Incident intensity

k = absorption coefficient

x= path length

Photons emitted from the far UV lamp (Io)are absorbed by molecules passing
through the cell causing a net decrease in photon flux to the photodiode (I). The changes in photon flux exhibits the Lambert Beers law relationship with concentration. The photodiode responds to the decrease in lamp flux and the change is amplified and

The linearity of this detector is better than 104. The sensitivity of this detector is similar to the FID for methane and 25-100 times better than a TCD for selected compounds. In addition, the FUV detector is nondestructive and can be run in series with other detectors.
Applications include trace levels of 02, H20 and inorganic gases which have been difficult to detect at sub-microgram levels previously.


Universal Response-
Responds to organic and inorganic compounds that absorb at 120 nm with detection limits 100 times lower than TCD
Sensitivity Subnanogram
for most compounds
Suitability for Capillary Column Analysis
Low dead volume (<50µL) allows operation with minimum make-up
Non Destructive-Allows series operation of detectors
Simplicity of Response
Unidirectional peaks, Beers Law Relationship  
Is readily adaptable to ANY chromatograph  
Ease of Operation-
no additional gases needed
The detection limits for a number of compounds are given below in Table:

Trace water in helium, nitrogen, semi conductor gases, or process streams
Detector with nearly universal response & detection limits in the low or sub ppm levels
Responds to all hydrocarbons with equivalent or better sensitivity for Methane (CH4) than the FID
Ideal complement to the PID"
Source of quoted text: Copyright 1998-2011 PID Analyzers, LLC 

For more information on this subject check out a chapter that Jack Driscoll wrote titled: FarUV ionization (Photoionization) and Absorbance Detectors.

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