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ATLAS Headspace Sampler

Simple and reproducible headspace sample collection for Lonestar® analysis of VOCs

  • Automated temperature and gas flow control for reproducible detection of VOCs
  • Versatile pneumatic operation allows optimisation of settings for detection of target VOCs
  • Built in particulate filters protect the Lonestar from sample particles and droplets
As of September 2021, the ATLAS Headspace Sampler has been discontinued and is no longer available to purchase. If you are interested in headspace analysis contact us to find out about our current capabilities, including ITEX GC-MS.
ATLAS schematic


Non-invasive VOC sample collection from liquid and solid clinical samples

The ATLAS module collects the headspace gas above liquid or solid clinical samples and provides it to the Lonestar VOC Analyzer. A sample placed in the heating region is held at a constant temperature to allow equilibration.

Only volatile analytes that diffuse from the sample into the headspace caan be transferred to Lonestar for analysis. ATLAS allows the selective analysis of volatile biomarkers in clinical samples such as urine, stool, saliva, sweat and blood.

  • Programmable temperature control

    The ATLAS module can heat the sample bottle to a temperature of up to 60 ± 1 °C

  • Versatile pneumatic operation

    Allows optimisation of gas flow settings for optimised detection of VOCs of interest from different biological matrices.

  • Particulate filter

    Built in particulate filters protects the Lonestar from sample particles and droplets larger than 1 µm in diameter

  • Data acquisition synchronised with headspace purge

    Ensures time-dependent data is captured repeatibly

  • Range of sample vessel options

    Different sized sample vessels offers additional means of optimising VOC response

Take a look at publications and other resources involving ATLAS

view ATLAS resources
Owlstone resources
Saturated headspace concentration and mass transfer between sample and headspace explained

How it works

What is headspace sampling?

The ‘headspace’ of a sample is simply the gas space above a liquid or solid specimen. VOCs from the sample diffuse into the headspace gas, which can be analysed to provide information about the chemical composition of the sample, providing a means of non-invasive analysis of patient samples for VOCs related to disease.

Dynamic headspace sampling explained: purge flow and evaporation rate

The purge flow that carries VOCs from the sample headspace to the Lonestar instrument plays an integral part in the sensitivity of the method, as it reduces the concentration of analyte in the headspace, increasing its rate mass transfer into the headspace. Another important factor is the distance between the purge flow inlet and the surface of the sample. The ATLAS Headspace Sampler offers control over these key parameters, offering a versatile headspace sampling solution for VOC analysis.

The figure on the left shows the factors that influence the final headspace concentration in more detail.

Diagram - headspace sampling

The concentration of VOCs in the headspace is strongly dependent on sample temperature. Once the clinical sample is placed into the ATLAS Module and sealed, ATLAS heats and accurately maintains the sample's temperature, facilitating the reproducible transfer of VOCs into the headspace of the vessel. Concentration of VOCs in the headspace is also dependent on:

  • Concentration and vapour pressure of the VOCs in the sample
  • The concentration gradient of the analyte between the liquid and headspace, and between the surface of the liquid and the bulk of the liquid.

Owlstone Medical can provide headspace sampling capabilities linked to high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) via our in vitro sampling systems.

Learn more about the theory of headspace sampling

Download ebook
Book cover - Theory of headspace sampling
Owlstone ATLAS product CTA

Get in touch with our team to discuss headspace VOC analysis

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