Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 24, pp 6247–6255 | Cite as

Issues with analyzing noble gases using gas chromatography with thermal conductivity detection

  • George C. RhoderickEmail author
  • Michael E. Kelley
  • Lyn Gameson
  • Kimberly J. Harris
  • Joseph T. Hodges
Research Paper


The noble gases, namely neon, argon, krypton and xenon, have many uses including in incandescent and gas discharge lighting, in plasma televisions, shielding gas in welding, in lasers for surgery and semiconductors, and in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lungs. When incorporating these noble gases in industries, especially the medical field, it is important to know accurately the composition of the noble gas mixture. Therefore, there is a need for accurate gas standards that can be used to determine the noble gas amount-of-substance fraction in the appropriate mixture application. A recent comparison of mixtures containing four noble gases in a helium balance showed mixed results among National Metrology Institutes. Significant differences, 0.7 to 3.8% relative, were seen in the analytical amount-of-substance assignments versus the gravimetric value of the noble gases in the comparison mixture when using “binary standards”, i.e. neon in helium, argon in helium and krypton in helium, as applied by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Post-comparison studies showed that when all four noble gases were included in the standards, the agreement between analytical and gravimetric values was within 0.05% relative. Further research revealed that different carrier gases (hydrogen, helium and nitrogen) resulted in varying differences between the analytical and gravimetric values assignments. This paper will discuss the findings of these analytical comparisons.

Graphical abstract


Noble gases Primary standard mixtures Gas chromatography Thermal conductivity detection 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1235_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (79 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 78 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George C. Rhoderick
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael E. Kelley
    • 1
  • Lyn Gameson
    • 2
  • Kimberly J. Harris
    • 1
  • Joseph T. Hodges
    • 1
  1. 1.Gas Sensing Metrology Group, Chemical Sciences Division, Materials Measurement LaboratoryNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.Lyn SoftwareFrederickUSA

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