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Gas Chromatography/
​Mass Spectrometry Fundamentals

How is gas chromatography/mass spectrometry used?

From research, to testing for environmental and food contaminants, to quality control, GC/MS systems are used for many quantitative analysis and screening applications. Here are just a few examples.

Two scientists working in a lab


As air, water, and soil contaminants become subject to stricter regulation, analysts are relying on GC/MS for consistent, high-quality data.

Foods and fragrances

GC/MS is indispensable to the food industry, where it is used to ensure product safety, quality, and authenticity.

Materials testing and consumer products

Manufacturers rely on GC/MS for structural and functional characterization of materials, as well as the detection, identification, and management of impurities.

Energy and chemical

For decades, GC/MS has been the technique of choice for testing and analyzing raw materials, intermediates, and finished products to ensure quality.


Throughout the pharmaceutical industry, GC/MS is used to identify impurities in active pharmaceutical ingredients, and to perform compound analysis and characterization.

Forensic toxicology

Forensic labs use GC/MS for purposes as varied as finding drug compounds in urine to detecting traces of flammable chemicals in items from possible arson sites.

Planetary astronomy

GC/MS instruments have been sent to Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and other extraplanetary environments to analyze chemicals found there.