Monday, May 23, 2011

#AIHCE 2011 Wrap-Up-the word from Booth 718

We heard it from an industrial hygienist
                                                                     in Portland, OR

Chlorinated hydrocarbons are a hot topic right now for first responders from fire departments and government agencies such as Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration.We have been specializing in the measurement of chlorinated hydrocarbons since our development of the 11.7 eV long lifetime photoionization detector lamp in 1979. This lamp is available for the hand-held PIDs and for our portable gas chromatographs. Click here for more information about use of a photoionization based analyzer for the measurement of chlorinated hydrocarbons.

Web site
We brought along the first ever sold HNU PI-101 to Portland because we were showcasing it at The Chemistry of Industrial Hygiene Instrumentation Reception during the conference and we brought it to the booth thinking folks would get a kick out of it. We elicited a huge response from attendees most of whom were unaware that they could still get service from us on their old (and beloved) 101 series photoionizers.   Check out our "A New Era in Photoionization" brochure here.

Real-Time Detection Systems: our fast gas chromatograph Model 322 was extremely popular in Portland, OR. Although we introduced the Far-Ultraviolet detector in 1984, it remains underutilized. The most attractive feature of the FUV is that it is nearly universal and is more sensitive than the Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD). Jack Driscoll and Phil Smith presented research at AIHCE for an industrial hygiene application using the fast GC Model 322 which uses resistively heated columns in the oven and a dual detection method: photoionization detector and a far-UV detector. Click here for more info on this application.

As a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's Real-Time Detection System Committee (AIHA RTDSC), Jack Driscoll is co-authoring a book with Phil Smith, Past Chair of the AIHA RTDSC called "Important Instrumentation and Methods for the Detection of Chemicals in the Field". Jack has contracted to contribute the last section of the book on the subject of Infrared Analyzers. He recently completed the Photoionization and Specialized Detectors sections.

Updated May 27, 2014

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.

What's in the air now? Analysis of ppb levels of photochemical smog components in air using a portable analyzer


242nd ACS National Meeting, Denver, CO

Document ID: 18472
Program Area: SCHB: Division of Small Chemical Businesses
Symposium Title: (SCHB015) Sci-Mix


1. PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, MA, 02563, United States


1. Jennifer L. Maclachlan, Managing Director, 2 Washington Circle, #4, Sandwich, MA, 02563, United States
2. John N. Driscoll, 2 Washington Circle, #4, Sandwich, MA, 02563, United States

Abstract Body: A number of cities in the U.S., including Denver, have problems with high levels of ozone and/or photochemical smog. This phenomenon, first observed in the Los Angles basin area in the 1950's, is still not well understood. Fixed monitoring stations have been established for several decades, but the data collected and subsequent analysis leaves an incomplete understanding of the ozone and photochemical smog formation problem. A portable analyzer, capable of being deployed when traffic and weather conditions warrant, could provide more valuable data to help address the issues of "what is in the air now?" We have developed a portable analyzer for monitoring three of the pollutants that contribute to photochemical smog formation: volatile organic compounds, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. The analyzer incorporates a photoionization detector that measures VOC's at 1 ppb, and electrochemical sensors for O3 at 10 ppb and NO2 at 20 ppb. We present the precision and accuracy in the lab and field, as well as comparisons with a continuous monitoring network for the same pollutants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Real-Time Detection Systems at #AIHCE: Fast GC Analysis for IH monitoring


Excellent attendance was reported for our podium session at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition:

PO 111 Field Detection, Sampling and Analysis: Real Time Detection Systems. According to people who attended this session the room was nearly at capacity meaning approximately 200 people comprised the audience!

Tuesday | 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. May 17, 2011 Portland, OR
Arranger: W. Groves, Penn State, University Park, PA. Moderator: P. Smith, Uniform Services University, Bethesda, MD. Monitors: M. Roe, 3M Company, Blaine, MN; J. Engel, USN, Camp Pendleton, CA.

10:30 a.m.

Fast GC Analysis with PID and FUV Detectors for Industrial Hygiene Monitoring at Low ppb Levels. (PO 111-1) J. Driscoll, D. Walsh, PID Analyzers, LLC, Pembroke, MA; P. Smith, US/DOL/OSHA

After the talk, numerous folks came by our booth to discuss industrial hygiene applications with Jack Driscoll for both the fast GC and the portable GC-the featured products at the HNU-PID Analyzers booth #718 at the 2011 AIHCE in Portland, OR. 

The Chemistry of Industrial Hygiene Instrumentation

Hilton Portland Galleria North
The question came to me from longtime colleague Geoff Hewitt of IonScience, is 2011 the 40th anniversary of  the commercialization of the photoionization detector by Jack Driscoll? My answer was no it's not; it is the 38th anniversary but it is the International Year of Chemistry. What better time to celebrate the life's work of a chemist and his contributions to the field of industrial hygiene? I contacted my local section of the American Chemical Society (NESACS) and applied for a mini-grant to sponsor this event and applied to have it listed as an official International Year of Chemistry (IYC) event
Dr. Patrick Gordon, Chair of NESACS contacted me to discuss presenting a plaque to Jack at this event that they had agreed to sponsor and would act as an official IYC event. When asked AIHA offered me a no-charge function room at the Hilton Portland for this special evening.

Dr. Gordon asked me to solicit someone in the industrial hygiene industry to write the verbiage for the plaque; I chose Dr. Phil Smith of US Department of Labor/Occupational Health and Safety Association because he and Jack both currently serve on the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Real-Time Detection Systems Committee. This is what Dr. Smith submitted to me:
"In recognition of your visionary efforts to improve the practice of industrial hygiene through development of highly portable detection instruments, including development of the first handheld photoionization detector, the HNU PI101, and numerous other handheld and transportable detection systems.  Your work has had a large and lasting impact on the practice of industrial hygiene, and in other fields where the need exists to measure airborne chemicals in real-time or near real-time".
I thought Phil would make an excellent speaker for the event so I asked him if he would say a few words about Jack and the impact his instrumentation has had on the industrial hygiene industry. I also asked Geoff Hewitt to speak about the founding of HNU Systems since he was employed there shortly after it's incorporation. Geoff met with us to discuss his speech and detail the marketing for this event. I contacted members of the Pacific Northwest local American Chemical Society sections to engage their participation in this event that was taking place within/driving distance of their section. I received an overwhelming response from the Portland Local Section who won a ChemLuminary Award in 2010 for the best new public relations campaign. 
Hewitt, Brabham-Chair Portland LS, Maclachlan, Driscoll, Terrell-Chair-Elect Portland LS

This event was well received by the industry media and many thanks to the following media individuals who ran my press releases: Occupational Health & Safety,  Physics News Facility Safety Management Rand D

The reception began at 6pm and ended at 8:30pm on Sunday May 15, 2011 at the Hilton Portland in Galleria North on the Ballroom level. Complimentary beer (Portland micro-brews!) , wine and soft drinks were served along with prociutto-wrapped asparagus, coconut shrimp, crackers with brie & apricot, spinach & artichoke dip and a roast beef carving station to the fifty attendees. Socializing occurred from 6pm-6:30pm, then I kicked off the program with an Introduction to the International Year of Chemistry and introduced my colleague and father: Dr. Jack Driscoll. Jack spoke for 30 minutes and had his audience entranced in his presentation: The History of HNU and the amusing anecdotes that accompanied each Powerpoint slide. 
 Geoff Hewitt spoke next opening with an apropos quote: “The secret to success is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” Benjamin Disraeli First Earl of Beaconsfield, 1804-1881* Jack Driscoll is credited with commercializing the photoionization detector ie) engineering the first analyzer to employ photoionization as the detection principal.  "The history of PID, and the careers of Jack and Geoff intersect a number of times over the years, so bear with me as I tell a tale that is mostly based on fact!! And since the history of PID predates hnu, so does my narrative. I first met Jack Driscoll at the Pittsburgh Conference in Cleveland in 1975. How did that meeting come about? Well it’s a story of two people arriving at the same place from two totally different journeys, and of other characters that played a role along the way." Geoff went on to provide a time line 
of “The History of PID according to Geoff”  including "1961 James Lovelock publishes review of ionization detectors for gc including ECD FID and PID. Analytical Chemistry 33, #2 162-178. ECD allows detection of traces of pesticides and CFCs.1962 Rachel Carson publishes “Silent Spring” warning of the perils of indiscriminate pesticide use, and the environmental movement is founded. Lovelock’s ECD figures prominently in early environmental analysis" leading up to the next set of critical events: 1971 Driscoll builds 1st PID while at Walden Research (making it the 40th anniversary of the first photoionization detector prototype!) 1972 hnu formed to develop a Nitrogen Oxide monitor for the USA Environmental Protection Agency  Driscoll and Spaziani develop first commercial PID with separate lamp and ion chamber".  A really touching moment was when Geoff took the time to remember those individuals who were essential to the early success of HNU Systems: Fred Spaziani, Jim Becker and Al Wilshire.
Hewitt, Dahlstrom, Maclachlan, Smith, Driscoll

The room was full of Jack's colleagues including Dave Dahlstrom who shook Jack's hand and "thanked [him] for saving thousands of lives with [his] industrial hygiene instrumentation".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#AIHce Social Media Meetup

Hilton Portland
Bistro 921 Hotel Bar Hilton Portland
The 2nd* annual #AIHce social media meetup took place on Sunday May 15, 2011 at the Hilton Portland & Exec Towers at the Bistro 921 Bar at 4:30pm. 

Once the confusion of "which" Hilton is it in?-this one or the one across the street? folks started to arrive at Bistro 921.  
It is always awkward at first approaching strangers at the bar asking if they are here for the social media meetup-I must remember to bring a sign with the Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter logos to future events to ease that nervousness-of course once Tony Uliano turned around I recognized his face from the AIHA Linked-In group and said "Tony how are you? It's me, Jennifer". Turns out Matt who was grading papers at the bar was also there for the meetup and my husband Jimmy and I welcomed them to join us at the tables in front of the tv.  
Back row L to R Tony, Jack, Jennifer, Ben, Don, Front row L to R Matt, Jimmy
The business card exchange began described by Don Weeks as "old school-did we know that people use USB devices to exchange contact information?" I couldn't believe it: the excitement overtook me as I pulled my keys out of my purse with my beloved IChromatography Scientist poken attached and demonstrated how a poken works, promising to forward the video Ken Grant of Analtech made about it (click here for Poken at Pittcon video)  and admitting that pokens are only fun when everyone has one-I promised Don a poken-I keep an extra for this exact opportunity-another social media enthusiast-I'll be mailing off his "tiger poken" today; turns out that Don is not only active on Linked-In but has been participating using the show hashtag on Twitter: #aihce.  Jack arrived and Don introduced us as his Linked-In friends. We had a social media discussion about Linked-In (most everyone uses it for business), Twitter (only myself and Don use it) and Facebook people in this Linked-In group use it more for personal relationships although they participate in the AIHA group on Facebook. 

We discussed how we all feel like we "know" each other through our interactions via the AIHA social media vehicles (Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter)  and how neat it was to get together and "meet face to face".

I had to leave at 5:30pm to get ready for my next event downstairs in Galleria North. My husband, Jimmy stayed behind and hung out with his new Linked-In friends, although he is my spouse and worthy of the purple spouse badge ribbon, he does work in the construction industry and is involved in green building and solar powered HVAC systems so he was able to find common ground amongst these industrial hygienists. We had another spouse join the group and a few others. So our social media meetup tally went up from 7 to 11. 

Looking forward to staying in contact with our new #AIHce friends whom we know a little better now and looking forward to meeting up in Indianapolis in 2012! If you are in Portland, stop by and see @pidguy at our booth #718.

*The first #aihce social media meetup was toted as a tweetup and took place at AIHCE 2010 in Denver. Click here for details.

Friday, May 6, 2011

#AIHCE Featured Products Booth 718 Portland, OR

Come check out our photoionization detectors at booth 718! 

See how you can build your own IH,EHOS or IAQ analyzer using the base analyzer and selecting the corresponding sensor(s)-up to 4 per unit- tailored to your application: choose from photoionization, 30 different electrochemical sensors-featuring oxygen and hydrogen sulfide, IR sensors-range specific and/or combustible gas sensor. On the PID, the headspace mode is standard and the ppb mode is available as an option.

Need a fast GC? Come to the Real-Time Detection Systems podium session # PO111-1 on Tuesday May 17 at 10:30am. More information here

Need a portable GC
We've got a truly portable GC for lab results in the field.
Celebrate the International Year of Chemistry with us at #AIHCE: 
The Chemistry of Industrial Hygiene Reception to honor Dr. Jack Driscoll. 

Click here to view the invitation and/or register for this exciting event. 

Wielding social media for effective science communication