SIFT-MS analyzes formaldehyde directly and instantly to sub-part-per-billion (ppb) concentrations. No sample prep or preconcentration!

Vaughan Langford Syft Technologies Director - Applications & Marketing

Dr. Vaughan Langford

BSc(Hons), PhD

Principal Scientist / Consultant

Vaughan joined Syft in 2002 after completing his PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of Canterbury (1997) and post-doctoral fellowships at the Universities of Geneva, Western Australia, and Canterbury.

As manager of Syft’s contract laboratory, Vaughan has worked extensively with customers to understand their analysis needs and develop market-tested SIFT-MS solutions.

Vaughan has experience across all SIFT-MS application areas, but has particular expertise in environmental and food industry applications. He is an expert in SIFT-MS application and method development.

In addition to the technical aspects of his role, Vaughan attends and presents on many of Syft’s webinars and attends various conferences on our behalf.

Formaldehyde is an important industrial chemical. It is ranked 25th overall in United States chemical production and is predicted to surpass the current world production of 52 million tons in 2017. Currently 56% of the world’s production is in the Asia Pacific region with North America accounting for 15.8%.

It has been categorized as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure can cause childhood-onset or aggravation of asthma, as well as headaches, eye irritation, and nosebleeds.

Despite the many health and environmental concerns, formaldehyde analysis is not undertaken as frequently as it should be, because of the challenges with conventional methods that utilize liquid or gas chromatography. In particular, the polarity and reactivity of it present significant challenges for formaldehyde analysis.

By contrast, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry – SIFT-MS analyzes directly from air or headspace using soft chemical ionization, down to sub-part-per-billion-by-volume (ppbv) concentrations within seconds. The graph below shows automated SIFT-MS analysis of two Tedlar bag samples containing formaldehyde and the five linear C2 – C6 saturated aldehydes within one minute.  Using HPLC with UV detection, analysis of these samples would take about 25 minutes, and that does not include sampling onto DNPH tubes and subsequent solvent extraction.

Grap Analysis of two Tedlar bag samples containing formaldehyde


To learn more about the unique opportunities that SIFT-MS offers for rapid, simple analysis of aldehydes, please view the recent webinar that Dr Mark Perkins and I presented on C&EN.

On January 24, 2018, Mark Perkins (Anatune) and Joe Wicks (Intertek Pharmaceutical Services – Manchester) will present a webinar on LCGC that is dedicated to validation of formaldehyde analysis using SIFT-MS.

Posted by Dr Vaughan Langford, Director of Applications and Marketing at Syft Technologies

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