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University of Helsinki VERIFIN - Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention
Analytical techniques
Contact Information:
A. I. Virtasen aukio 1 (P.O. Box 55)
Department of Chemistry
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
tel. +358 2941 50443
fax +358 2941 50437
E-mail (generic)

Sample Preparation

VERIFIN's sample preparation laboratory is constantly developing better procedures to recover treaty-related chemicals from various matrices. Methods have been tested and validated both for on-site analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and for use by sophisticated designated laboratories equipped with all spectrometric techniques.

Gas Chromatography-mass spectrometry

In the early 1980's, the development led to a Finnish two-channel gas chromatograph and retention index monitoring technique using a Finnish-made retention index standard series suitable for use with selective detectors. At present VERIFIN screens all samples with a detector combination, which allows chemicals containing phosphorus, sulphur and nitrogen to be detected in one run. A retention index library has been created in standard conditions for preliminary identification of treaty-related chemicals.


  • Agilent 7890A with 7000 GC-MS (triple quadrupole).
  • HP 6890N with 5975B MS
  • HP 6890 GC with FPD and NPD

Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) technique combines the good separation of liquid chromatography and the unique selectivity and sensitivity of mass spectrometry. VERIFIN's mass spectrometry laboratory is equipped with three LC-MS/MS instruments:

  • Waters Xevo (triple quadrupole)
  • Thermo TSQ Quantum Ultra (triple quadrupole)
  • Finnigan LXQ (linear ion trap)
  • Thermo Orbitrap Fusion (Orbitrap)

The instruments are equipped with HESI, ESI and/or APCI sources and they are also capable of MS/MS measurements. Direct analysis of aqueous samples has become increasingly important due to the restricted time available for analysis in of CWC-related analysis.

NMR Spectroscopy

NMR spectroscopy has proven to be a valuable technique in screening of chemical warfare agents with fluorine and phosphorus. New polarization transfer techniques help also to characterize the structure of these chemicals at trace amount levels. The reference spectrum library compiled during the years gives a significant aid in the identification of the chemicals. The laboratory has also an HPLC-DAD system for sample enrichment and LC-NMR analysis of mixture samples.


  • Bruker Avance III DRX 500 NMR Spectrometer (with LC-UV system)


Reference chemicals are one of the corner stones of the verification analysis.

These chemicals can be either chemical warfare agents, their degradation products or biological metabolites extracted from tissue or other biological samples.

VERIFIN has specially designed synthesis laboratory for preparation of all kind of reference chemicals needed for verification analysis. The identification of synthesis products are done with several separate analytical methods to make certain that the correct chemical has been synthesized.

As a part of the chemistry building the laboratory has highest security and safety measures.