Updated on 25 October 2013
Increasing sophistication and technology advancements has lead to the development of affordable and simplified mass spectrometry capable of running quicker analyses with higher sensitivity
Agilent Technologies, which was founded in 1999, is synonymous with the R&D of liquid chromatography/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) equipments. It is accredited with the development of some of the most innovative GC-MS devices including the first bench-top inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in 1994 and the first bench-top quadruple liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS), 1100 Series LC-MS in 1997.
The evolution of the company's gas chromatography is a reflection of the changing industry needs and the global requirement for better instrument sensitivity, faster analyses times, more accurate identification, and reduced operational costs.
The use of mass spectrometers as the detectors in gas chromatography dates back to the 1950s. Over the years, with increasing sophistication and technology advancements, measurement companies achieved breakthroughs leading to the development of affordable, simplified mass spectrometry that were capable of running quicker analyses with higher sensitivity. In the 1970s, there was an urgent need for instruments to detect nitrogen containing compounds as the use of anabolic steroids became widespread. Agilent's gas chromatography and mass selective detector (GC-MSD) has been deployed to testing facilities across the world to support some of the world's most prestigious sporting competitions. In 1972, the company supplied instrumentation to the lab serving the first Olympic Games at which testing were required. Since then, the company has played a role with drug testing labs serving the Olympic Games as well as major events such as World Cup Soccer and the Tour de France.
In the 2000s, members of environmental protection agency (EPA) and public health agencies became increasingly concerned with risks associated with the use of pesticides. In response to the increasing needs of biotechnology companies to test for pesticides in fruits and vegetables at the parts per billion level, Agilent Technologies launched the world's first triple quadrupole gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GC-QQQ MS/MS) in 2008. The new 7000A series was specially designed to make femtogram-level sensitivity and high-speed MRM accessible to a wide range of commercial and government users.
In view of the shifting industry needs, Agilent Technologies introduced the first quadrupole time-of-flight gas chromatography / mass spectrometry system in 2011 for biotechnology companies to conduct structural studies on street drugs. The Agilent 7200 GC/Q-TOF delivered a new level of chromatographic and spectral resolution to a wide range of biological and chemical analyses. It helps in challenging applications such as when the masses of target compounds were extremely similar and sample matrices were too complex. To date, no other measurement company had launched a similar product to the GC-QTOF.