Inverse Gas Chromatography-Surface Energy Analyzer (iGC-SEA)

The iGC-SEA continues Surface Measurement Systems’ pioneering history with inverse gas chromatography (iGC), which now spans more than fifteen years.

The iGC-SEA is a second generation iGC instrument. It is the world’s only commercial instrument based on the iGC principle. The unique SMS injection scheme provides a wide range of injection concentrations with unrivalled accuracy and reproducibility.

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How does the iGC-SEA work?

The iGC-SEA is based on Inverse Gas Chromatography (iGC) methodology and is a gas phase technique for characterising surface and bulk properties of solid materials. The principles of IGC are very simple, being the reverse of a conventional gas chromatographic (GC) experiment.A cylindrical column is uniformly packed with the solid material of interest, typically a powder, fibre or film. A pulse of constant concentration of gas is then injected down the column at a fixed carrier gas flow rate, and the time taken for the pulse or concentration front to elute down the column is measured by a detector. A series of iGC measurements with different gas phase probe molecules then allows access to a wide range of phyisco-chemical properties of the solid sample.

The injected gas molecules passing over the material adsorb on the surface with a partition coefficient KS:

Ks = Vn / Ws

Where VN is the net retention volume – the volume of carrier gas required to elute the injection through the column, and WS is the mass of the sample. VN is a measure of how strongly the probe gas interacts with the solid sample and is the fundamental data obtained from an IGC experiment; from it a wide range of surface and bulk properties can be calculated.


Instrument features include:

  • Unrivalled accuracy and repeatability
  • Fully automated operation
  • Comprehensive data analysis software
  • Up to 12 different probe gas molecules
  • User friendly wizard based software
  • Optional humidity control
  • In-Situ sample pre-conditioning
  • Wide temperature range
  • Column packing accessory
  • Supports 21CFR Part 11


The iGC-SEA provides unique access to the following physico-chemical properties of a wide range of solid materials in a controlled humidity environment:


  • Dispersive and polar surface energies
  • Heats and entropies of adsorption
  • Acid/base interactions
  • Phase transitions
  • Sorption isotherms
  • Permeability, solubility and diffusion
  • Micropore and mesopore distributions
  • Competitive (Multicomponent) adsorption
  • Surface energy heterogeneity mapping


Typical iGC-SEA Applications – iGC-SEA provides access to unique physicochemical information for:


  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
  • Food Products and Ingredients
  • Minerals and Coals
  • Building Materials
  • Flavourings and Perfumes
  • Natural and Artificial Fibres
  • Biopolymers
  • Coatings and Thin Films
  • Supported Catalysts
  • Polymers, Fillers and Composites
  • Microporous Materials

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