Mapping and quantifying isomer sets of hydrocarbons (≥C12) in diesel exhaust, lubricating oil and diesel fuel samples using GC× GC-ToF-MS

Mohammed S. Alam*, Soheil Zeraati-Rezaei, Christopher Stark, Hongming Xu, A. Rob MacKenzie, Roy M. Harrison, Zhirong Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
150 Downloads (Pure)


Airborne particles and vapours, like many other environmental samples including water, soils and sediments, contain complex mixtures of hydrocarbons, often deriving from crude oil either before or after fractionation into fuels, lubricants and feedstocks. Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-ToF-MS), offers a very powerful technique that separates and identifies many compounds in complicated hydrocarbon mixtures. However, quantification and identification of individual constituents at high ionization energies would require hundreds of expensive (when available) standards for calibration. Although the precise chemical structure of hydrocarbons does matter for their environmental impact and fate, strong similarities can be expected for compounds having very similar chemical structures and carbon numbers. There is, therefore, a clear benefit in an analytical technique which is specific enough to separate different classes of compounds and to distinguish homologous series while avoiding the need to handle each isomer individually. Varying EI (electron impact) ionization mass spectrometry significantly enhances the identification of individual isomers and homologous compound groups, which we refer to as <q>isomer sets</q>. Advances are reported in mapping and quantifying isomer sets of hydrocarbons (≥ C12) in diesel fuel, lubricating oil and diesel exhaust emissions. By using this analysis we report mass closures of ca. 90 and 75% for diesel fuel and lubricating oil, and identify 85 and 75% of the total ion current for gas- and particulate-phase diesel exhaust emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3047-3058
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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