Solvent removal is a crucial step in sample preparation, but it is often the most time consuming. Having to hold a stream of nitrogen by hand, drying one sample at a time, wastes valuable time which could be spent more productively. This is especially true when dealing with large batches, which can take hours to evaporate individually.
Slower sample preparation caused by tedious solvent removal ultimately leads to less throughput of gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), etc. The slower the sample preparation, the less tasks that are able to get done, and in a production lab, this can have serious impacts. Time is money, so wasted time equates to wasted money.
Not to mention, holding a stream of nitrogen to dry down samples one by one can lead to employee frustration or a lack of job satisfaction. Lab technicians may feel as though their time and skills are not being used sensibly. Their time spent evaporating samples, an arguably mindless task, could be spent in a much more meaningful way.
It is often misconceived that drying samples by hand is the only way, and that there are no alternatives – or if there are alternatives, that they must all be expensive. These misconceptions are often the reason that labs continue their current operations despite the flaws or challenges they have.
You may be asking yourself, "Is improving the solvent removal process actually worth it? What is the value of making the process faster and easier?"
Making sample preparation faster can significantly increase a lab's sample throughput, which can reap high rewards since higher productivity is the key to success for many labs. Having an easier process can also free up the wasted time of lab technicians, allowing them to complete more tasks and have a more gratifying work experience. Most importantly, this improvement in operations can greatly increase profitability.
There are many different types of sample concentration methods, each accompanied by their own instrumentation. Each instrument uses different techniques and methods in order to speed up the solvent removal process, and are all ideal for certain applications. Follow the link above to learn more about the most popular sample concentration methods.