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The Transformative Power of an Upgrade

Team TFS
Team TFS
blogimage1_031721I recently purchased a house and moving into a new space gave me an opportunity to evaluate some of my everyday activities. The move introduced me to major appliances that had features that I had previously only heard about.  While the downside was that there was a learning curve to operate these new devices, the upside was that I had access to options that let me make more efficient use of my time and obtain greater rewards for my efforts. A prime example of this was my new refrigerator. Being new, repairs were not a concern, which was a nice comfort. But what has really made an impact is the presence of a water and ice dispenser on the exterior. I had seen these before but always felt this option to be an extravagance. This changed when I came to have one of my own.  I had previously filled a jug that had a built-in water filter at my sink about once every few days and stored it on a shelf in the fridge. Whenever I wanted a drink, I had to retrieve this jug, fill my cup, then upgrade. Now, I take my cup, press it to the paddle on the fridge front and, voila, on-demand, chilled water. I even have the option of choosing whole or crushed ice cubes to extend its chilled state. It may seem like a small thing, but when you add up all the little steps, the savings in time and satisfaction are significant.

A similar revelation can come from the technology that we use every day in our labs. Little conveniences free up time that can be devoted to other activities which increases our overall productivity. One example of this is Reagent Free Ion Chromatography (RFIC) in which high purity eluent of precise concentration is produced by just supplying deionized water. This saves labor, avoids exposure to toxic chemicals, increases consistency and, when combined with electrolytic suppression, reduces the background conductivity and lowers noise to yield greater sensitivity.

Obtaining shorter run times for faster sample turnaround is another area impacted by innovation and, in the following example, was delivered by modified column chemistry. Determination of the disinfection by-products, haloacetic acids (HAAs) had previously required just under 60 minutes for each chromatographic run. With the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ IonPac™ AS31 column, an altered selectivity maintains adequate separation of HAAs while reducing the cycle time by almost 40%, resulting in reduced reagent cost and improved sample throughput.1

Enhancements have also been made to cationic analyses. Ensuring an optimal mix of amines during the sweetening process in oil and gas refining (i.e. removal of CO2 and H2S impurities) is challenging because of the variably in neutralizing amine, degradation products, and amine salts. This challenge is addressed by the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ IonPac™ CS20 column, which employs three different types of cation-exchange functional groups to allow the injection of samples with inorganic cations, ammonium, and alkanolamines ranging from µg/L to % concentration. The ability to generate a methanesulfonic acid (MSA) eluent gradient electrolytically reduces run time and a lower noise baseline is produced by suppressed conductivity detection, which improves trace determinations.2

These are just a few of the examples of how IC methods have been enhanced through the adoption of recent innovations in IC instrumentation and column chemistry, described in the white paper “Tapping technology to advance your ion chromatography methods”.3 Additional analyte types discussed include inorganic anions, oxyhalides, organic acids, trace anions, and complex carbohydrates.

Take a look at this white paper and our IC benefits website to discover how you can transform your lab’s IC determinations to exceed your customer’s expectations and improve your bottom line.


  1. Thermo Scientific Application Note AN73343: Fast determination of nine haloacetic acids, bromate, and dalapon at trace levels in drinking water samples by tandem IC-MS/MS, 2020, Sunnyvale, CA, USA.

  1. Thermo Scientific Application Note 73030: Alkanolamine Determinations in Neutralizing Amines Samples with Improved Separation Technology, 2019, Sunnyvale, CA, USA.

  1. Thermo Scientific White Paper 73983: Tapping technology to advance your ion chromatography methods, 2021, Sunnyvale, CA, USA.