City University of New York
Advanced Science Research Center / CCNY Research Building
The challenge with EDI technology is it’s very sensitive to hardness in the water and can require additional pre-treatment steps to
ensure the life of the EDI module is adequate.
The future is bright for lab water, as there will be continued and
increased usage in critical areas of research, and labs will likely
always require purified water. The goal then becomes for vendors to continue to improve water systems to make them more
user-friendly and ensure they are able to fit into the workflow of
any lab. “This may include adaptations to the water system to make
them compatible with future high-sensitivity life science and analytical applications and methods,” says Foster.
New technology will bring higher flow rates and lower operating
and ownership costs. High water purity is used in nearly every lab,
and ELGA Lab Water doesn’t see this changing. Pure or ultrapure
water is often seen as a commodity or utility, but it’s also one of the
most important reagents in the lab.
The proper gas solutions for your lab
In lab gas technology, the move from helium to hydrogen as a
carrier gas has slowed as a high percentage of labs that made the
change didn’t achieve the performance expected. The time to convert all processes and revalidate peaks is time consuming, according to Frank Kandl, director of business development for specialty
gas equipment, Airgas Inc., Radnor, Pa. And not being able to
compare historical chromatograms because of retention time differences and resolution was also an issue.
“In addition, most who decide to switch want to move to gas
generators; and this is an issue with bench space,” says Kandl. “It’s
typically at a premium, and the need for multiple units compounds
As anyone who runs a lab understands how valuable space is, the
last thing lab owners want to do is take up space with a cylinder
or dewar. Today, gas supply is becoming hands-off for researchers.
And lab owners seek to take high-pressure cylinders out of the lab
to reduce risks of gas leakage in a researcher’s bench space.
Airgas also sees stricter precision requirements for gas mixtures
in lab environments, including traceability to international standards for weights and derivative measurements. And, as safety is
one of the greatest emphases in a lab environment, it’s driving more
gas detection and monitoring requirements, as well as the need for
better calibration gases.
“This trend has led to an increased focus on environmentally
friendly containers, such as reusable cylinders instead of disposables,” says Tony Reccek, director of business development for specialty gases, Airgas Inc.
Cylinder treatments prior to gas filling have improved long-term
stability and increased shelf life, and manufacturing techniques
have improved the precision and accuracy of gas mixtures. “There
have also been improvements in data handling that require less
user involvement and, therefore, reduce errors by integrating data
from the supplier to the user electronically,” says Reccek.
On the equipment side, there’s more emphasis on improvements
in the gas delivery system and its components. “For example, there
have been simple and inexpensive changes like added check valve
cylinder connections,” says Kandl. “The combination of compo-
nents is reducing leak sources. This creates efficiencies in gas usage
and has removed components that added contaminants into the
gas stream.” As most processes are repetitive, chromatographers
need the same gas purity from the source to the instrument. In
research, consistent results are of upmost importance.
However, standards must be created for how gas companies
determine and name purity for gases and how companies are
allowed to publish purities. This will create consistencies for labs,
as they will know the exact levels of any contaminant in their gas.
“Currently, there are no standards in the U.S. or elsewhere on
how a gas purity analysis is done,” says Kandl. “The users need to
examine the Certificate of Analysis each time to determine if it’s
the same as before or, if there was an analysis done, to determine if
the product was only labeled as high purity.”
In the future, Kandl says there will be central gas distribution
systems and improved gas delivery systems that will address how
to maintain the purity of the gas from source to instrument. Smart
systems will provide a visual or audible alarm when an event happens to compromise the purity.
— Lindsay Hock, Editor