Direct thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (DTD-GC-MS) is a technique that is finding application in the characterisation of the semivolatile organic carbon fraction of ambient and combustion source particulate matter (PM) collected on filters. In this study, three DTD-GC-MS methods were assessed and compared to a conventional solvent extraction method for analysis of a mixture of target analytes in solution and of diesel PM collected on quartz filters. The target analytes included n-alkanes, hopanes, steranes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This study showed that while the three DTD-GC-MS methods were generally comparable to the solvent extraction method, (1) the choice of calibration strategy and calibration materials has a significant impact on the measured accuracy of a method; (2) very large variations were seen in all methods for the more volatile compounds such as C10 to C13 n-alkanes and naphthalene; (3) accuracy, defined as difference from the known concentration of a liquid sample, ranged from 5% to 32%; (4) precision, defined as the relative standard deviation, ranged from 4% to 16%. The average difference of DTD-GC-MS results from the solvent extraction results for the diesel PM filters ranged from 20% to 40%. This difference was driven by the large number of target analytes present at relatively low concentrations (<25 pg/mm2) and their corresponding higher variability. Differences in performance among the compound classes were noted. Minimum detection limits for the DTD-GC-MS methods were on the order of 0.1 to 1 pg/mm2 and were as good as or better than those obtained for the solvent extraction method.
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direct thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry;
organic speciation of diesel particulate matter
Document Type: Research Article
Environment Canada, Environmental Science and Technology Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0H3
Natural Resources Canada, CANMET Energy Technology Centre Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 1M1
Environment Canada, Air Quality Research Division, Downsview, ON, Canada M3H 5T4
January 1, 2010
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