GCMS Sample Introduction Systems Selection Guide

Choosing a Sample Introduction Technique for GC/MS Analysis

This page provides a quick overview of sample introduction methods for analysis with gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. It also indicates the Shimadzu GC/MS autosamplers compatible with each method.​ For a more detailed explanation, download our pdf guide.​


1. What sample introduction techniques are available for GC/MS analysis?

Here we briefly describe the eight main techniques for GC/MS sample pretreatment and introduction.

  • Liq
  • SHS
  • DHS
  • TD
  • D-TD
  • SPME
  • DI
  • Py

Summary table​

Technique Matrix Target analytes Shimadzu's GC/MS accessories
Liquid injection (Liq) Liquid (no sample prep) Volatile or semi-volatile AOC-30 series AOC-6000 Plus series
Static headspace (SHS) Liquid, (semi-)solid Volatile HS-20 NX series​
Dynamic headspace (DHS) Liquid, (semi-)solid​ Volatile HS-20 NX Trap model​
Solid phase microextraction (SPME) Gas, liquid, (semi-)solid Volatile or semi-volatile  
Thermal desorption (TD) Gas, liquid, (semi-)solid​ Volatile or semi-volatile TD-30 series OPTIC-4
Direct thermal desorption(D-TD) Liquid, (semi-)solid Volatile or semi-volatile EGA/PY-3030D TD-30 series
Pyrolysis (Py) Liquid, (semi-)solid​ Less volatile, non-volatile​ OPTIC-4​
Direct sample injection (DI) Liquid, (semi-)solid​ Less volatile, non-volatile​ DI-2010  

2. How does sample volatility affect the choice of technique?

Sample volatility is a key factor in selecting a sample introduction technique.​
​ This chart shows the boiling points of various compound groups and the most suitable introduction methods over different volatility ranges.​


3. How do sample matrices affect the choice of technique?

The figure below shows the most appropriate technique taking into account both sample volatility and the matrix interference. Analysis is difficult when the sample and its matrix have similar volatility.


4. What is the sensitivity range for each technique? 

Below is the general sensitivity range for each technique. All of these techniques can be used for trace-level analysis when paired with a high-sensitivity MS detector.​

Technique Sensitivity Shimadzu's GC/MS accessories​
SHS ppb~ppm level​

HS-20 NX series

HS-20 NX series

AOC-6000 Plus series​​

DHS ppt~ppb level​

HS-20 NX Trap model

HS-20 NX series

SPME ppt~ppb level​  
TD ppt~ppb level​

TD-30 series

TD-30 series



D-TD ppt~ppm level​



TD-30 series​

TD-30 series

Liq ppb level​

AOC-30 series​

AOC-30 series​

AOC-6000 Plus series​


Py μg level​





DI ng level​




Browse Shimadzu’s full range of GC/MS accessories here.

Download A Guide to GCMS Sample Introduction Systems: Choosing the best system for your analysis to learn more.

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