SPME (say “spee-mee”) is a chemical extraction/sampling technique that allows the direct adsorption of many trace volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds onto a specially coated fiber. Such organic compounds include explosives, narcotics, chemical weapons agents, and other threat-substances. When the SPME sample arrives in the lab, the SPME fiber can be inserted directly into the injection port of, for example, a Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS); analysis takes place without any additional chemical extractions or other lab procedures.
The basic component of the SPME technology is a thin fiber coated with an adsorbing polymer housed in a syringe-like device that can expose the fiber and then retract it – an SPME assembly. After collection of the sample, the SPME fiber must be protected such that it does not then lose the adsorbed analyte before the sample can be measured in the laboratory. FFI’s devices are designed to secure the sample and keep it secure during its transport to the lab or even in the lab if there’s any amount of time between sampling and introduction of the sample into the analytical instrument (e.g. GC/MS). Samples taken with FFI’s TuffSyringe™ can even be safely shipped by commercial carriers without having to worry about sample loss or damage to the SPME syringe.
SPME fiber assemblies are reusable; they can be reconditioned in the injection port of a gas chromatograph. Unfortunately, reconditioning the fibers in a gas chromatograph prevents the GC from being used for actual samples so FFI developed a SPME conditioner, the Model CN303R Conditioner.