Pyrolysis mass spectrometry in combination with computerized multivariate statistical analysis enables qualitative and quantitative analysis of nonvolatile organic materials containing molecular assemblies of a complexity and size far beyond the capabilities of direct mass spectrometry. The state of the art in pyrolysis mass spectrometry techniques is illustrated through specific applications, including structural determination and quality control of synthetic polymers, quantitative analysis of polymer mixtures, classification and structural characterization of fossil organic matter, and nonsupervised numerical extraction of component patterns from complex biological samples.

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