Insights from industry

Nitrogen Generators for Laboratory LC-MS Applications

In this interview, Lesley Thomson from Proton OnSite talks to AZoM about their laboratory line of gas generators designed for use with LC-MS instruments.

First of all, can you give us a quick introduction to Proton OnSite's products?

Proton OnSite manufactures hydrogen, nitrogen, and zero air generators that provide safe, reliable, and cost effective on-site solutions for customers to get the gas they need, when and where they need it.

How are nitrogen generators used in LC-MS?

Nitrogen generators provide a convenient onsite source of high purity nitrogen as a carrier gas to take a sample through the detector. These generators serve the lab market with a continuous uninterrupted source of nitrogen for this process.

Proton OnSites

Proton OnSites' family of laboratory gas generators

What are the main differences between PSA and membrane-based N2 generation technologies?

Air separation using membrane technology occurs when compressed air is forced into a vessel containing a hollow tube in the middle surrounded by polymeric hollow fibers.

PSA technology separates nitrogen molecules from other gas molecules by carbon molecular sieves (CMS). By alternating between both CMS columns, O2, moisture, hydrocarbons, CO2, and other “contaminants” are adsorbed this allows the Nitrogen to flow into an accumulation tank. Additionally, PSA systems tend to be physically larger units.

Proton OnSite provides generators based on both of these technologies - what are the benefits to the customer of having this choice available from one supplier?

By providing products with differing technology, Proton OnSite appeals to customers by supplying solutions to suit diverse lab equipment needs.

What are the main parameters that are important to LC-MS performance - e.g. purity, flow volume, etc?

Strong LC-MS performance is first and foremost dictated by reliable equipment. On-site gas generation provides a convenient, safe and dedicated supply of nitrogen for LC-MS gas requirements.

Do gas requirements differ between different MS ionization methods, such as ACPI, APPI or Electrospray?

Requirements do differ slightly amongst MS ionization methods. Electrospray is the most common method, as it is suitable for most compounds.

No direct heat is applied to the Nebulizer (spray nozzle), the process is gentle and Nitrogen demand is light (10-15 l/min).

APCi is used primarily for long-chain compounds. The Nebulizer is heated and the process is much more extensive as the long-chains are reluctant to be ionised. Nitrogen demand is higher (20-30 l/min).

What did Proton OnSite exhibit at ASMS this year?

Proton OnSite displayed our N34m generator at this year’s ASMS show – a membrane-based nitrogen generator with a load-following mechanism, which automatically matches gas production to the demand.

What unique advantages do your laboratory products provide, compared to competing models?

Our products are adaptable to all OEM equipment. The flexibility of these generators, providing nitrogen and/or air, is what drives the success of our products.

Lesley ThomsonOur customers enjoy the fact that they have the ability to upgrade our generators to best suit their individual needs. Additionally, our products feature a touch screen display that elevates their overall ease of use.

What are Proton's plans for your Laboratory product lines over the next 12 months or so?

Proton OnSite is dedicated to continually developing advanced technology for ever changing laboratory gas needs, and our products will continue to reflect that commitment.

About Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson serves as Laboratory Market Director for Proton Onsite, with 10 years of experience serving the gas generators global market.


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Will Soutter

Written by

Will Soutter

Will has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Durham, and a M.Sc. in Green Chemistry from the University of York. Naturally, Will is our resident Chemistry expert but, a love of science and the internet makes Will the all-rounder of the team. In his spare time Will likes to play the drums, cook and brew cider.


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