The enhanced resolution of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) was combined with the increased resolving power, speed, and mass accuracy of high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry to confidently characterize molecules in light cycle oil (LCO) and vacuum gas oil (VGO). Optimized chromatographic and mass spectrometry parameters were implemented to improve data acquisition, processing, and heteroatomic speciation of these light to midlevel petroleum fractions. Advanced software tools were used to process the data to facilitate robust compound identifications and resulted in comprehensive characterization of molecules in LCO and VGO samples. Compound classes consisted of, but were not limited to, alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, benzothiophenes, and carbazoles. Selective detection and quantification of alkylbenzothiophenes and dibenzothiophenes were conducted by retrospectively processing data using rapid two-dimensional, accurate mass target analyte finding. Results were compared to those provided by more-traditional petroleum analysis methods.
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