Sample Preparation – Time Consuming, Expensive and Error Prone

Martin Perkins

9th May 2018

Where GC-MS or LC-MS are used to make chemical measurements, there is always a need to prepare the samples prior to the analysis. This can be as simple as adding an internal standard, or as complex as a multi-stage derivatisation. However, if the sample preparation is carried out by hand, it will be the weakest link in the whole process.

There was a time, when automated sample preparation only made sense if you had lots of identical samples to run. Things have changed and now, more and more labs are using sample prep automation as a vital tool in method development.

The ‘lab on a rail’ concept enables a full range of sample prep tools to be installed on a single robotic platform, all controlled by the same software. This eliminates the problem of linking together disparate products from different vendors into a single digital environment.

Now, it is also possible to configure a sample prep platform with a large enough selection of tools installed at once so that they can be mixed and matched to different jobs, without, the need for hardware configuration.

With this capability in place, method development can take place in an environment where the only thing that changes, run-to-run, are the parameters you intentionally change. All of the other parameters – including the sample prep parameters, are fixed and you don’t have to contend with the confusion created by random variations in other factors.

To learn more about this, click here to download a reprint of an article, Automation 101, first published in International Environmental Technology in February 2018.