Analytical Technologies and Breakthroughs

DHL Analytical, Inc. is an industry leader in employing innovative technologies to meet the ever challenging environmental testing protocols from government agencies to private industries. The challenges arise to develop faster, more reliable, more cost-effective and the most sensitive test methods to meet current and future demands. Our prior advancements have covered different methodologies throughout the laboratory.

  • In 1998, we improved low level Semivolatile GC/MS analysis by utilizing large volume injection technique (LVI).
  • Our metals instrumentation was upgraded from ICP to ICP/MS in 1999 for better selectivity and sensitivity for trace metal analysis.
  • For the quickest analysis possible, we have used fast GC technology since 2002 for TPH analyses.
  • In 2006, we converted our IC to IC/MS for better perchlorate testing with MS confirmation which overcoming many of the interference problems encountered with IC analysis.
  • To provide a superior analysis over GC methods we began analyzing herbicides with LC/MS in 2007. This method is designed to detect herbicides in free acid form without the use of hydrolysis and esterification in the extraction procedure.
  • In 2010, we have converted Aroclor/PCB, chlorinated and organophosphorus pesticides analysis using GC/MS. This technique provides superior selectivity and interference-free results with the equivalent sensitivity of ECD/NPD detectors.

These innovative technologies have served us and our clients well with state of the art instrumentation and analytical techniques.

Our recent technology developments are:

  • Converting all operations to paperless – In 2012, the conversion to a paperless document management system was developed and implemented. The benefits of electronic data management are speed and the ease of operation. This includes data review and reporting, data storage and retrieval, and ensuring data safety and integrity.
  • Low-level (parts per trillion) EDB (ethylene dibromide), 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, and 1,2,3-trichloropropane by GC/MS using “full scan” in water matrix – The regulatory PCLs are extremely low for these compounds. Traditionally, EPA Method 8011 utilizes the GC with the ECD’s extreme sensitivity to detect these compounds at a low-level. However, this method has a lot of drawbacks. Samples (including all calibrations and daily QC samples) are subjected to a very time consuming hexane extraction. This preparation technique always introduces unknown artifacts that interfere with compound identification and quantification. A second column confirmation is required, but doesn’t guarantee accurate data quality. GC/MS is a more desirable analytical tool, but it usually lacks the sensitivity. Running the GC/MS in SIM (selected ion mode) allows for more sensitivity but without full spectrum information, there is a concern for proper compound identification. Agilent’s newest 5975 mass spectrometer is a step closer with faster electronics for SIM/SCAN modes for these analytes but at a higher cost. To avoid the higher cost and using the EPA Method 8011 solvent extraction, DHL Analytical has developed a new GC/MS system to detect these compounds utilizing full scan. This newly developed method meets all EPA Method 8260 method criteria and also meets/exceeds the required sensitivity. Click for: EDB/DBCP/TCP examples.
  • 1,4-dioxane analysis by GC/MS in full scan mode for water and soil matrix – 1,4-dioxane is a water soluble compound which presents a problem of poor purging efficiency when analyzed by EPA Method 8260. This shortcoming creates high detection limits that can not meet the regulatory PCL. Until recently, DHL Analytical employed a solvent extraction method coupled with SIM scans to achieve the desired detection limit. With our recent breakthrough, we developed an 8260 method with detection limits that exceed regulatory PCLs for both water and soil. Running in full scan mode, the precision and accuracy is excellent. Click for: Dioxane example.
  • SF6 Tracer analysis – SF6 is an excellent underground water tracer due to its stability and extreme sensitivity when analyzed by GC/ECD. Therefore, the amount used for a tracer study can be very small. DHL Analytical has developed the analytical method to analyze SF6 collected either by permeation scheme or whole water sample. DHL Analytical has completed the pilot study in collaboration with one of our clients and the method has proven itself robust and reliable.