The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made us stop and define for ourselves what really matters. What if we consider what really matters in our laboratory? When we purchase a new instrument, we naturally spend time reviewing that instrument’s specifications. These are certainly important, but they are rarely the reason we purchase an instrument. We purchase an instrument to run one or more applications, and that is what really matters. In the Thermo Scientific Dionex Ion Chromatography Applications Lab, we have been aware of that fact for over four decades and have created a large library of applications to help our customers be successful. These applications consist of a lot more than running a simple standard. After all, who buys an instrument to run a standard? I submit that we provide complete applications that are more detailed than you will find from other instrument companies, and often done just as you would do them.
So, what do I mean by complete? There are many components to complete and they will vary with the application and its purpose, but let’s look at two recent applications our lab developed to demonstrate. All our applications can be found in the AppsLab Library of Analytical Applications and the links will take you there so, if you would like, you can read the details. The first is the determination of ammonia impurity is potassium bitartrate. This project was done to modernize the United States Pharmacopeia’s (USP) Potassium Bitartrate monograph by replacing the colorimetric ammonia impurity test with a fast and robust ion chromatography (IC) test. Looking closely at this application note you see the components of a complete application. All the equipment, consumables, and chemicals needed for the application are listed along with their sources and catalog numbers. There are detailed instructions for preparing eluents, preparing samples, calibration, and setting up the experiment. Additionally, we show the results of our robustness studies that follow USP criteria so that you can judge if the method meets your needs. Part of that study is to test the method on second column but of a different lot. We typically test two columns and recommend that customers do so when designing a method they plan to use indefinitely, or that will be used by other labs. Key performance parameters are provided so you can check your set up.
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The second application is the determination of halogens and sulfur in liquified petroleum gas (LPG). This is far from a typical IC application as it involves incremental combustion of LPG and capturing the resulting gases in a liquid that is then analyzed by IC. While that sounds complicated, in addition to having all the components discussed in our first example, this application note guides you on how to safely install, execute, and shut down this application. For all our applications, our goal is to make you successful in running the application or provide you a blueprint for designing your own similar application. In the end, that is what really matters.