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The Golden Triangle and Why It Matters

Martin Perkins

16th February 2018

Automated Sample Preparation, Chemometrics, Design of Experiments, DoE, GC-MS, Golden Triangle, LC-MS, Mass Spectrometry, Ray Perkins, Robotics, Workshop,


Automated sample preparation will have a strong, positive impact upon the use of LC-MS and GC-MS in the life sciences.

As a result of improvements in both mass spec sensitivity and robotics, a tipping-point has been reached where virtually all sample preparation can be fully automated and become part of an end-to-end analytical procedure.

To understand why this is so significant, consider something that we refer to as the Golden Triangle of Analytical Chemistry.

Automated sample preparation brings great reproducibility to the analytical process, by addressing and eliminating the biggest source of error – human intervention.

When developing methods using automated sample preparation, outcomes from intended variations, are not masked by unintended variations due to operator ‘technique’.  This makes method development a faster and more certain process.  Modern Design of Experiments software combines well with automation, is very easy to use, and speeds-up the development of high quality methods dramatically.

Well designed, analytical methods that make extensive use of automated sample preparation are inherently reproducible.  In the life sciences, it is common to use chemometrics to seek-out small, but significant, sample-to-sample differences in composition.  Once again, robustness and reproducibility are vital to ensure that the compositional variations seen are real, and not a result of random variations due to samples being treated differently.

There you have it, the new Golden Triangle of Analytical Chemistry:

  • Automated Sample Preparation
  • Computer aided Experimental Design (DoE)
  • Chemometrics

These factors also represent three skills that you will need to master, to keep pace with analytical chemistry from here on.

None of the three points of the triangle are new concepts in themselves; what is new is that they have coalesced into a synergistic whole and are more valuable and more accessible to analytical chemists than ever before; improvements in software design, mean that much of the heavyweight maths and statistics are taken care of deep within the software.

It just isn’t that hard anymore.

Dates for your diary!
On the 19th and 20th June 2018, Anatune will run a two-day workshop in Cambridge, designed to introduce analytical chemists to this concept, and to allow them to get hands-on with software packages for DoE and Chemometrics.

Although aimed at those working in the life sciences, the workshop will also be relevant to analytical chemists in many other areas for whom efficient method development is important.

Our objective is to deliver an understanding of the principles of Design of Experiments, Chemometrics and Sample Prep Automation and how it all fits together.  You will:

  • Learn how to develop robust, fully automated methods, quickly
  • Learn how to improve the quality of the data you generate
  • Learn how to go about the automation of sample preparation

To register your interest please email us now, or call us on +44 (0)1223 279210.