Friday, June 29, 2012

@pidgirl's June 2012 E-Newsletter

From PID's to portable GC's and Beyond
                              June 2012 
From a local training course led by a colleague at UMass Boston to the Real-Time Detection Systems Committee Professional Development Courses (PDCs) at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, Jack has been out of the lab this month and on location teaching. 
We're looking forward to our mid-week mini break next week in observance of the Independence Day holiday: we're closing Wednesday and Thursday. 
Early history of the photoionization detector
Numerous companies manufacture and/or supply photoionization detectors but we remain unique because we have Dr. Jack Driscoll, the Father of Photoionization, the true expert on the HNU PID which has become coined *the analytical PID*.  He was honored to present the Early History of the Photionization Detector at the PID/4 gas field use PIDs andHazardous Chemicals and Real-Time Detection Systems PDC(s). His presentation is here and is full of interesting little known facts. 
Photoionization detector for gas chromatography
Jack Driscoll and Fred Spaziani: the founding fathers of HNU Systems, Inc. applied the photoionization detector technology to gas chromatography in 1976. Having borrowed a Tracor GC equipped with a Flame Ionization Detector and utilizing Fred's uncanny mechanical engineering skills, they built a crude version of the PID modeled after the portable PID they had introduced to the industrial hygiene market in 1974 and modified the detector to run on the Tracor. The purpose of this exercise was to develop a sensitive detector for hydrocarbons. What they had not expected to find was that their PID was fifty times more sensitive than the FID for aromatic hydrocarbons! Information on upgrading your GC with our HNU PID is here.
Fast GC for Real-Time Detection in the field
Gas chromatographic analysis times for ketone and aromatics methods (NIOSH 1301, 1501 & 2005) are between 25-35 minutes due to long temperature ramping and cooling times. Also, if peaks are not resolved chromatographically, non-target components may interfere with the analysis. We employed Vici Valco's resistively heated columns to reduce the total analysis times by 50-60%, and used the PID/FID response ratios to enhance identification of components of interest. Abstract here 
*Enlighten me, but make it quick* Ignite! Session
Jack is presenter #3 in this engaging presentation.

20 slides in 5 minutes on a particular 
opic. Slid
es are auto-advanced so in this case, timing IS everything!

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter today and I invite you to connect with me socially using the icon links below.
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Jennifer L. Maclachlan, Managing Director

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, and CERM 2012

Guest blog post by George Ruger 

The 43rd Meeting of the Central Region of the American Chemical Society took place in Dearborn Michigan at the Henry Hotel June 5-9, 2012.  However, how does someone way out east get to such a place to enjoy all that the rest of the country has to offer?  Of course, there are planes.  But it is so expensive to travel by plane these days.  Trains go throughout the country, but do they go everywhere?  

And of course the almighty automobile, the cars and trucks which take people to and from work each day. 

Scratching the plane, and with it the hefty price tag, and skipping over the automobiles until later, we shall focus on the marvel that fueled our countries' early expansion out west, the train.  Do trains go beyond the lucrative Northeast Corridor and to points unknown?  Well, it turns out they do.  Mighty Amtrak does in fact make many stops along the way from NYC to Chicago.  One such stop takes us to Toledo Ohio, a mere hour from Detroit.  There is bus  service from Toledo to Detroit, and nearby towns including Dearborn, MI.  The train did not go all the way to Detroit, but it got pretty close.  Fortunately for me, I was able to spend that last hour of the trip in one of the wonderful vehicles produced in nearby Detroit thanks to the hospitality of the Detroit section officers.

So, it seems that the journey is possible, although it does take about 12 hours each way from just north of NYC.  It is quite a journey, through western NY and into Ohio.  The tracks are a bit bumpy in spots, and after a while one town or stretch of open land looks like all the others.  Plus, the need for sleep keeps creeping in during the multi hour journey.  I'm so glad I left my car at home.  It is hard to do much else on the long journey than to occasionally look out and see the sights and then try to rest.  Internet access is not available on my train.  Here I am traveling the way people did for generations before planes took over as the favorite mode of transportation for many and my biggest complaint was I cannot get online.  Followed by the long time it takes to get to my destination.  Still, the countryside is scenic in spots.  The people along the way are an interesting group, including a number of them who I would guess are Amish. 

On to the reason for my journey, CERM 12.  Here, on the edge of Detroit, in the town of 
Dearborn is the ACS Regional Meeting hosted by the Detroit local section.  Several hundred people gathered to explore the Chemistry inspired wonders and celebrate Detroit's 100th anniversary as an ACS section.  In addition, there were celebrations of the almighty automobile- it is Detroit after all, the headquarters of the big auto companies.  Several presentations focused on the connection between the auto industry and the chemical industry.  

The WCC Luncheon featured Dr. Shulamith Schlick on the topic of clean energy and fuel cells.  Thursday's Plenary lecture featured Alan Taub, a former VP at GM.  His talk focused on how vehicles will have to be designed better and more efficiently in the future.  The auto industry has come a long way in the last few decades, but still has a long way to go through improvements in the materials used to design the vehicles and the methods to power the vehicles.  Some time was spent on different types of energy sources including improved fuel cells and hydrogen powered vehicles.

Numerous sessions took place during the meeting.  I was able to see some programming of the SCHB Division discussing different types of businesses and resources available through ACS to help individuals start their own businesses.  The ACS sent some career services personnel who led sessions on planning your job search, nontraditional careers, new technologies including social media, and a very important topic- networking.  The topic was so important that there were two sessions, an overview of what networking was and then a chance to practice those new skills in the Speed Networking session, where the participants had five minutes to strike up a conversation before moving on to the next person as the participants went around the room.  As is the case at any meeting, so many events at the same time and we have to pick out one session per time block.

One of the wednesday highlights for me was the evening social media / mixer event attended by several Detroit locals and various members of ACS Governance. The event was unofficial (not listed in the official program) and only lightly publicized during the meeting plus a little bit on twitter.  Making these things up as you go along limits marketing opportunities but allows events to spontaneously form.  I was hoping for a few more non-ACS officers to attend, but it was late and people have other ideas for how to entertain themselves after the normal programming ends.  The event was quite enjoyable.   Many ideas floated around about the meeting as well as other topics.  The event was so successful that it was repeated thursday night with a few more people.  As far as the social media aspect of the event, there was not too much activity on the #CERM12 hashtag on twitter.  However, the Detroit section has an active Facebook page and numerous pictures and information is available there.   

A more official networking event was the ACS Governance ice cream social on thursday afternoon.  The event featured several ACS District Directors and the Chair of the ACS Board of Directors.  There were some comments about how great the meeting was going and some basic information for the numerous people in attendance. During the question and answer session, the biggest question was on pending ACS litigation, with the best answer being that the courts are pending the case and have not given a response yet but that could come at any time.  After a few questions and answers, the ice cream came out.  This was not just any ice cream- you picked your flavor and the toppings that you wanted, and the staff used their tools to chop up the mixture into a delicious treat.  Generic ice cream stand quality this was not.  The line did not move very fast, but the wait was worth it- this was some good stuff!
The Thursday night CERM awards ceremony featured numerous winners, some of whom are highlighted *here*  Quite a lot of the winners came from one local section.  That must be an active and productive section!    One of the winners could not get enough praise during the meeting.  One attendee had this statement,  "Meghann Murray's "Brewing Chemistry" is the best science cafe program anyone in the nation is running through ACS."  In addition to the Science Cafe program, Meghann has been involved in numerous other activities listed in the awards profile as well as being an active local section officer.

There were many great activities and awards and presentations given during the meeting.  Sadly my journey home began thursday night before the event was finished.  Even while I was there I could only see a small portion of the events.  Regional meetings highlight many great things that National meetings can't cover due to the large number of attendees and events required to take place.  Local sections don't always have the ability to showcase the wonders of their territory all on their own.  There is a reason why the ACS is broken down into parts- Divisions, and Regions, and Local Sections.  More ability to focus on things of interest to that particular group.  One of the benefits of Regional Meetings is the ability to put several of those groups' accomplishments on the center stage (or perhaps CENtral stage?)    

Photos courtesy of George Ruger

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Utilizing ACS Network, Google+ and Pinterest as marketing tools for my small chemical business

244th ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA

Document ID: 15751    
Program Area: SCHB: Division of Small Chemical Businesses       
Symposium Title: (SCHB008) Sci-Mix
Monday August 20, 2012 8pm-10pm


1. PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, Massachusetts, US, 02563, United States


1. Jennifer L Maclachlan1 , PID Analyzers, LLC

Title: Utilizing ACS Network, Google+ and Pinterest as marketing tools for my small chemical business

Abstract Body: In a previous presentation: Staying lean and utilizing social media: Remaining relevant as a small chemical business given in the Small Chemical Businesses Division symposium True Stories of Success from Chemical Entrepreneurs at the 243rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, I discussed my intention to explore ACS Network, Google+ and Pinterest as viable social media marketing tools for my small chemical business, PID Analyzers, LLC. This poster will illustrate best practices and the value of ACS Network, Google+ and Pinterest used in conjunction with the more traditionally utilized small business social media platforms: Linked-In, Twitter and Facebook.    

Monday, June 11, 2012

Upgrade your GC

Our PID detectors are easy to install on any commercial GC.

Improves separations and analysis of trace species
Wide linear dynamic range
> 107

50-200 times more sensitive than the FID 

High sensitivity
pg or sub pg detection limits- most sensitive PID available

Non destructive
Detectors can be run in-series

Used by environmental agencies worldwide

Display (PI52 only)
Our 2 line by 16 character display can be backlit; used for range and background readings.

Our 16 bit ADC provides a resolution of 1 part in 64,000 and our signal algorithm minimizes noise by signal averaging in the msec range

Programmable Voltage output
0-10VDC (PI52 only)
  • The photoionization detector (PID) is used for the measurement of low (ppb) organic and inorganic species that can be ionized by the UV lamp (9.5, 10.6 & 11.7). Nearly 20,000 of these detectors have been sold worldwide since it was first released by HNU Systems in 1976. It has been used for the measurement of VOC’s in water (EPA method 602, EPA Method 50--, EPA Method SW846…, numerous OSHA methods), quality control… There are two Models that are described below:

  • The Model PI52 has a PID, a power supply for the lamp and bias and an electrometer. The electrometer output is 0-10 VDC. The customer needs a separate ADC channel to feed the signal into the GC’s data system. Alternately, PID Analyzers sells a data system (Model 50) that will feed the signal into a separate PC.

  • The Model PI51 has a PID and a power supply for the lamp and bias. Here, the customer uses the electrometer (FID type with a positive bias) already in the Gas chromatograph. This should already have the ADC connection to the customer GC data system.

  • The PID is one of the most sensitive detectors available for VOC’s. It has the widest dynamic range of any detector available (108) and does not require any support gases except the carrier.

Species measured:
Organics (VOCs) and inorganic species

that can be ionized by the UV lamp (9.5, 10.6, 11.7)

Detection limit:
<0.5 ppb of benzene

> 5 x 107

2.5'' D x 5.5'' L

Electronics enclosure (PI52):
Weight: 3 lbs.
Size: -'' W x -'' L x -'' H

Electronics enclosure (PI51):
Weight: 0.40 lbs
Size: 4'' W x 5'' D x 1.25''H

Power consumption:
< 2 amps @ 115V

10'' L x 3'' W x 2.25'' D

Instrument operating conditions:
5-40 degrees C, 0-95% RH (non-condensing)

For more information, this product brochure is available for viewing or download here. Contact us for a quotation here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cape Cod Point of View: SE Massachusetts STEM Expo

SE MA STEM EXPO- Cape View May 24,2012 Guest Blog Post by Dr. Jack Driscoll, PR Chair Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society

This EXPO was a success for the students and teachers who were very excited to attend a science & technology convention for young students. There were a wide range of companies and organizations who could discuss careers and provide demonstrations from marshmallow construction to blood chemistry to robotics. A STEM program that was recently added to the 8th grade curriculum of the Dennis Yarmouth school district was presented. 

For the high school students who did not attend, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers scholarships in STEM for Associates, Bachelors, and Masters Degrees. The NSF STEM funding for MA (starting in 2003) has resulted in a 200-300% increase in high AP courses in the Boston Public Schools over the past few years. 

Cambridge Science Festival
We (NESACS) attended the SE MA EXPO as presenters to the 500+ grade 5-8 students from 23 different school systems in SE MA including 4 schools from the Cape and Islands. The EXPO was held at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA. There were 100 STEM professionals and 200 teachers at Bridgewater State University on May 24, 2012. Some photos at the EXPO are shown below: 

Our Cape companies/organizations included the following:
Cape Cod Science Café- for Communicating chemistry- to NESACS members and the public
PID Analyzers- VOC’s in soil and water
American Chemical Society (ACS)- developing interest for students in scientific careers
Jennifer Maclachlan, George Ruger, Jack Driscoll
ACS Chemistry Ambassadors- Communicating chemistry to the public  

Nova Biomedical Corp.- Demonstration of handheld blood glucose analyzers for type 1 & type 2 people with diabetes. The Nova meter requires a very small blood sample and is ideal for measuring blood glucose in children. 

Dr. Jack Driscoll and Rick Rolling. Children interested in health related fields or had relatives with diabetes were interested. The teachers were more interested than the children according to Rick.

NESACS- Demonstration of pH for all ages- Dr. Jack Driscoll, PR Chair NESACS, ACS, PID Analyzers (R), George Ruger, MID Hudson Section ACS (L) pH meters, pH paper, Red cabbage juice

Smithers Pharma Corp- Blood Chemistry Experiments- Dr. Paul Reibach-
demonstrated testing the compatibility of blood types. Students used common household chemicals to simulate blood types. This exhibit is important for many students considering nursing careers. Students learned about the life and contributions of Dr. Charles Drew, African American physician who developed ways to process and store blood plasma in blood banks- Dr. Paul Reibach, member of NESACS  and ACS. There were many students lined up for this experiment. Jennifer noted "it didn't hurt that Paul would yell out *who wants to learn about BLOOD* to gather a quick crowd around him".

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute-
Demonstration of force (using steel bars and levers). WHOI is one of the largest employers of scientists in the SE MA area (and 1250 scientific personnel). Woods Hole is one of four centers in a program sponsored jointly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Woods Hole Center is a joint effort involving scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Presented by Josh Eaton, Mechanical Engineer, WHOI, Falmouth, MA

Our Cape Cod Schools included:
Barnstable grades 7 and 8
Dennis Yarmouth presenters- discussing new STEM program (2011) and cooperative water project with Russia
Provincetown grades 6-8  
Sandwich grades 5-8
Upper Cape Regional Presentation on planning careers
Other Cape Organizations
Martha's Vineyard School District Representative(s)
Cape Cod Community College- Connections in conductivity

Only one student knew what pH was. He was a 6th grader who had gone to science camp last summer. The favorite pH scale displayed the difference in pH between meats (acidic) and vegetables (basic). 
The biggest hits were the pH paper for testing water samples and the red cabbage juice (prepared by steaming red cabbage - Jennifer) indicator which for acid turns orange and for base turns purplish blue.
When an enthusiastic group of students came by, they were generally followed by an equally enthusiastic science teacher.
We were able to spark considerable new interest with the demos from our group.
We had English teachers come by and were amazed by the technology there. We said that STEM is important but so is communication. If the technology students can’t write or express themselves, they won’t be successful. We talked to math & geography teachers who were very interested in the STEM EXPO and science, so just because they don’t have a science degree doesn’t mean that they can’t be helpful teaching science with the proper training.

We plan to hold a Cape Cod Science Café with the Cape schools in our area in the late Fall.

National Chemistry Week
Last year during National Chemistry Week (Oct. 2012) we reached over 3,000 students with our four events but there were no schools from Cape Cod. We intend to change that this year.

PRESS RELEASE National Chemistry Week (Oct. 21-27 2012)
For the 25th consecutive year, the ACS National Chemistry Week event in the Boston area will be run by the Northeast Section of the ACS (NESACS). The events will be held in conjunction with the MOS, Boston Children’s Museum and Burlington High School. The 2012 celebration will be conducted during the week of Oct. 21-27, 2012, and the featured theme is “Nanotechnology!” We will have a number of demonstrations for the events based on quantum dots and properties of nano technology particles. This is a STEM event for K-12 students as well as for High School Teachers (Connections to Chemistry). In 2011, NCW, we reached  3,000 K-12 students with our three events. Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri, 2012 President of the ACS, gave talks and provided demonstrations at two of our events. We also provided workshops for 75 High School Chemistry Teachers through our Connections to Chemistry Program during NCW.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society with 164,000 members. The Northeastern Section of the ACS region which consists of eastern MA (inside 495) and the state of NH has 7,500 members in academia and industry. We hold monthly meetings that are open to the public and organize, promote and/or attend Cape Cod Science CafesScience Cafe NH and other area Science Cafe events for our members and the general public throughout our region.

For more information on NESACS or NCW contact:
Dr. Jack Driscoll
NESACS Public Relations Chairperson
T: 1 774 413 5281 x 119
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Maclachlan and George Ruger

Monday, June 4, 2012

Social Media Meetup at AIHCE 2012

Announcing the 3rd annual Social Media Meetup at AIHCE 2012
Monday June 18, 2012 
Champions Sports Bar at Marriott Indy Downtown
350 West Maryland Street 
Drop by between meetings or plan to stick around for a lively facilitated discussion on social media led by @pidguy aka Jack Driscoll. 

Email Jennifer Maclachlan or tweet her at @pidgirl today with social media topics/questions you'd like discussed.

Wielding social media for effective science communication