Research News

Checking the Pulse of PitCon '88

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Science  18 Mar 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4846, pp. 1374-1378
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4846.1374


At PitCon '88—otherwise known as the Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy—exhibited instruments capitalized on improvements in existing technology rather than novel concepts or design. This year's models feature increasing automation, particularly for aspects of sample presentation. The 1988 generation of so-called hyphenated systems emphasize a combination of techniques within the same work station—gas chromatography to detect and separate organic contaminants combined with mass spectrometry to identify them, for example. And in keeping with strict environmental standards, many companies are stressing the ability of their latest instruments to detect levels of environmental pollutants in the parts per billion, rather than parts per million, range.

PitCon '88 lured more than 25,000 participants to New Orleans for the week of 22 to 26 February. Approximately 830 companies displayed their wares at 2400 booths, and it took two separate facilities to house them. Specialized symposia on advances in spectroscopic, chromatographic, and electrochemical techniques increased in number as did the number of individual talks and posters. And new this year were three general interest symposia—identifying antiques by spectrochemical techniques, cholesterol, and drug testing in the workplace.