In the last decade, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) has become one of the most powerful analytical instruments used in the fragrance industry.
The advantages GC/MS offers are many. One of the principal advantages is that it utilizes the superior separating power of modern high resolution gas chromatography. Complex mixtures such as fragrances containing no less than one hundred compounds can be resolved with little difficulty. New coating techniques for both polar and non-polar capillary columns add an extra dimension in resolution. These new columns permit one to use higher elution temperatures and obtain reproducible retention patterns. If a fused silica type capillary column is used, an interface between GC and MS can be eliminated. The end of such a capillary column can be brought directly to the MS ion source, so that dead volume is reduced to a minimum.
Another outstanding advantage with a mass spectrometer is that it is a detector both universal and specific. The sensitivity is in the region of low nanograms. A fragmentation pattern is obtained which is specific to each compound in the mixture.