Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a hyphenated analytical technique. As the name implies, it is actually two instrumental techniques, a combination of instrumentation that allows for the analysis of complex mixtures of chemicals. GC-MS is considered as one of the primary methods available for qualitatively identifying the molecular makeup of a sample The technique employs gas chromatography to separate the components of a mixture based upon analyte boiling point and affinity for a column stationary phase. As each analyte elutes off the column, it enters the mass spectrometer where it is ionized, fragmented and separated by the fragments mass-to charge ratios, thus allowing the mass spectrometry to characterize each of the components individually. By combining the two techniques, an analytical chemist can both qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate complex mixtures.
Applications of GC-MS: