Information About Thermal conductivity detector

The thermal conductivity detector (TCD), also known as a Katharometer, is a bulk property detector and a chemical specific detector commonly used in gas-liquid chromatography. [1]This detector senses changes in the thermal conductivity of the column effluent and compares it to a reference flow of carrier gas. Since most compounds have a thermal conductivity much less than that of the common carrier gases of helium or hydrogen, when an analyte elutes from the column the effluent thermal conductivity is reduced, and a detectable signal is produced.


The TCD consists of an electrically heated filament in a temperature-controlled cell. Under normal conditions there is a stable heat flow from the filament to the detector body. When an analyte elutes and the thermal conductivity of the column effluent is reduced, the filament heats up and changes resistance. This resistance change is often sensed by a Wheatstone bridge circuit which produces a measurable voltage change. The column effluent flows over one of the resistors while the reference flow is over a second resistor in the four-resistor circuit.

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20th Jan 2015

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