MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gas chromatograph being used by a forensic scientist. He is preparing a sample for analysis. The display screen shows the output from the detector, showing the chemical composition of a sample. This allows small traces of both known and unknown materials to be detected. For example, drugs can be detected in hair samples. A gas chromatograph is used to separate mixtures of volatile gases or liquids by passing them through a material on which the components of the mixture travel at different rates. This allows analysis of very small amounts of chemicals. Many kinds of detectors can be used, most commonly a mass spectrometer.
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