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The authors have developed a software enhancement for the Hewlett-Packard RTE gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) data system that allows for feedback from quality control (QC) samples to control the autosampler sequencing. In addition, the system automatically produces numerous QC data summary reports for analyst evaluation. The enhancements were developed in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contract laboratory where strict tuning and calibration criteria must be met before any samples can be run and where significant review of the data by the analysts is required. One of the advantages of such a system is the ability to produce successful multiple shift runs. This ability allows for 24-hour and weekend operation of GC/MS systems with limited analyst intervention, thus increasing the utilization of limited resources. A second advantage of the system is its ability to automatically produce summary reports. These aid the analyst in evaluating data quality for such parameters as surrogate recovery and target analyte identifications. In addition, the production of these reports in a format to aid quick review of data quality allows the analysts to perform more complete reviews in much less time. This paper discusses the design of this software (referred to as SMART), its application to realworld laboratory situations, and suggestions for future improvements.
GC/MS, data system, autosampler, automation, quality control
Commercial Analytical Services Manager, Maxwell Laboratories, Inc., San Diego, California
Sales Support Engineer, Hewlett Packard, Fullerton, California