Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) combined with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) is a well-established technique for characterization of petroleum samples because of the ability to separate structural classes of hydrocarbons into distinct bands of analytes that can then be identified with library-matched mass spectra. However, transferring traditional one-dimensional gas chromatography methods to optimized two-dimensional methods can be daunting because of the sheer number of options available for setting up commercial GCxGC systems—choosing orthogonal column phases, secondary oven temperature offsets, modulator temperatures, and second dimension separation period lengths. Using a new online tool, Simply GCxGC™, the process of translating an existing analysis into an optimized GCxGC method is experimentally determined for a sample of diesel fuel. Calculations that maximize use of two-dimensional space and minimize analyte wrap-around are applied to user-controlled parameters to make the most of peak-capacity increases and further enhance the chromatographic resolution gains from the additional dimension of separation.
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