A gas chromatograph (GC) with a packed column was interfaced to an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) to yield atomic mass spectra from volatile organic compounds. Atomization of injected compounds was nearly complete and independent of molecular structure, so that elemental ratios could be determined. Detection limits were in the range 0.001 to 400 ng s<sup>−1</sup>, depending on the ionization energy of the element and its abundance in the background spectrum. The relative standard deviation of measured isotope ratios varied from 0.4% for Br (i.e., a ratio close to unity) to 18% for N (a very large ratio). Thus, GC-ICP-MS provides elemental and isotope ratio information that is complementary to the molecular information derived from GC-MS with conventional ionization methods.
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