Articles | Volume 4, issue 9
Research article
19 Sep 2011
Research article |  | 19 Sep 2011

A versatile and reproducible automatic injection system for liquid standard introduction: application to in-situ calibration

G. Isaacman, N. M. Kreisberg, D. R. Worton, S. V. Hering, and A. H. Goldstein

Abstract. The quantitation of trace organic compounds in ambient organic aerosol is difficult due to the chemical complexity of these mixtures, but is needed to provide insight into their sources and formation processes. Compound-level characterization of organic aerosols is typically performed through sample collection followed by gas or liquid chromatography. With these methods, introduction of liquid standards has long been used as an effective means of quantifying trace compounds, but automating this technique for use with in-situ instrumentation has not previously been achieved. Here we develop an automatic injection system (AutoInject) for the introduction of liquids into a custom collection and analysis cell for improved quantitation in chromatographic measurements. The system consists of chilled reservoirs containing liquid standards from which a sample loop is loaded and then injected into the cell. The AutoInject is shown to be reproducible over 106 injections with a relative standard deviation of 1.5%, and have negligible injection-to-injection carryover. A 6-port selector allows injection of different liquid standards separately or simultaneously. Additionally, automatic injection of multiple sample loops is shown to generate a linear multi-point calibration curve. Tests conducted in this work focus on use with the Thermal desorption Aerosol Gas chromatograph (TAG), but the flexibility of the system allows it to be used for a variety of applications.