Electron capture detector based on a non-radioactive electron source: operating parameters vs. analytical performance
Abstract. Gas chromatographs with electron capture detectors are widely used for the analysis of electron affine substances such as pesticides or chlorofluorocarbons. With detection limits in the low pptv range, electron capture detectors are the most sensitive detectors available for such compounds. Based on their operating principle, they require free electrons at atmospheric pressure, which are usually generated by a β− decay. However, the use of radioactive materials leads to regulatory restrictions regarding purchase, operation, and disposal. Here, we present a novel electron capture detector based on a non-radioactive electron source that shows similar detection limits compared to radioactive detectors but that is not subject to these limitations and offers further advantages such as adjustable electron densities and energies. In this work we show first experimental results using 1,1,2-trichloroethane and sevoflurane, and investigate the effect of several operating parameters on the analytical performance of this new non-radioactive electron capture detector (ECD).