analytica chemistry, December 22, 2012
Khay M. Tan, Ishan Barman, Narahara C. Dingari, Gajendra P. Singh, Tet F. Chia, and Wee L. Tok
There is a critical need for a real-time, nonperturbative probe for monitoring the adulteration of automotive gasoline. Running on adulterated fuel leads to a substantive increase in air pollution, because of increased tailpipe emissions of harmful pollutants, as well as a reduction in engine performance. Consequently, both classification of the gasoline type and quantification of the adulteration content are of great significance for quality control. Gasoline adulteration detection is currently carried out in the laboratory with gas chromatography, which is time-consuming and costly. Here, we propose the application of Raman spectroscopic measurements for on-site rapid detection of gasoline adulteration. In this proof-of-principle report, we demonstrate the effectiveness of Raman spectra, in conjunction with multivariate analysis methods, in classifying the base oil types and simultaneously detecting the adulteration content in a wide range of commercial gasoline mixtures, both in their native states and spiked with different adulterants. In particular, we show that Raman spectra acquired with an inexpensive noncooled detector provides adequate specificity to clearly discriminate between the gasoline samples and simultaneously characterize the specific adulterant content with a limit of detection below 5%. Our promising results in this study illustrate, for the first time, the capability and the potential of Raman spectroscopy, together with multivariate analysis, as a low-cost, powerful tool for on-site rapid detection of gasoline adulteration and opens substantive avenues for applications in related fields of quality control in the oil industry.