CIA Advantage - The next generation of automated canister analyser


CIA Advantage is an advanced system for automated analysis of VOCs in canister samples. With capacity for up to 27 canisters and cryogen-free operation, it is the ultimate solution for laboratories wanting a robust, high-throughput system for canister air monitoring.


CIA Advantage offers flexibility and productivity enhancements for air-monitoring laboratories that cannot be obtained with other systems. Electrically-cooled focusing eliminates the expense and inherent problems of using liquid cryogen, while heated internal lines and uniquely efficient purge steps eliminate carryover and optimise productivity.


At the same time, CIA Advantage provides both excellent analytical performance and unmatched application versatility. Gas-loop and MFC-controlled sampling options combined with quantitative sample splitting allow compatibility with the widest possible sample concentration range, and the method-compliant tube desorption capability integral to every CIA Advantage allows compatibility with TO-17 air toxics and SVOCs.

CIA Advantage - the key benefits for canister users

Economy and productivity

  • No need for liquid cryogen means savings of thousands of dollars per annum per instrument
  • Up to 27 channels allows round-the-clock automated operation for maximum productivity
  • Heated internal lines (up to 200°C) and uniquely efficient purging combine to eliminate carryover. This means fewer blanks and more samples, allowing you to generate higher revenue
  • High- and low-concentration samples can be accommodated in the same sequence. Prescreening of uncharacterised samples can be carried out automatically with no need for dedicated equipment
  • Robust modular design optimises uptime and enhances serviceability, thus minimising maintenance costs
  • Easy water management

Analytical excellence

  • Peerless analytical performance, including splitless desorption for optimum sensitivity
  • Simple but sophisticated, single-stage trapping with an optimised combination of sorbents and electrical cooling provides the ultimate VOC pre-concentration capability. Even ultra-volatiles and polar species can be quantitatively retained, while interferents such as CO2 and water are selectively eliminated

Flexible and future-proof

  • Electronic splitting capability and the option of small-volume sampling via gas-loop further enhance compatibility with high-concentration samples. This eliminates the need for time-consuming sample preparation steps such as canister dilution
  • Compatible with both canister/bag analysis and method-compliant analysis of sorbent tubes, allowing you to satisfy a wider range of applications, such as TO-17 air toxics, SVOCs and passive sampling

The CIA Advantage range

The CIA Advantage range comprises two systems:


CIA Advantage-T™


A dedicated system for analysis of trace-level components, e.g. in ambient air or process gas streams. This system introduces sample volumes from each canister in the range 10 mL to 1 L (depending on canister size).


The CIA Advantage-T accommodates up to four canisters with the standard model, or 17 when used with the optional CIA Satellite™ module.


CIA Advantage-HL™


A versatile system for analysis of both high- and low-concentration samples and for screening unknowns, incorporating gas-loop sampling in addition to the standard mass flow control. This system introduces sample volumes from each canister in the range 0.5 mL to 1 L (depending on canister size).


The CIA Advantage-HL accommodates up to fourteen canisters with the standard model, or 27 when used with the optional CIA Satellite module.


Gas-loop sampling


For the analysis of high-concentration samples, or those of unknown concentration, gas-loop sampling (available in the CIA Advantage-HL model) has distinct benefits over mass flow control. The gas loop introduces a precise volume of sample (0.5 mL), allowing high-concentration samples to be analysed in the same automated run as trace-level samples. When running a range of sample types, or analysing unknowns, this saves both time and money, without the risk of contamination.

Overview of operation

Metered by gas loop or mass flow controller, each air/gas sample is introduced directly into the electrically-cooled, sorbent-packed focusing trap. Sorbents and trapping temperatures are optimised for retention of organic components and simple/effective elimination of water and CO2. The trap then heats rapidly in a reverse stream of carrier gas to transfer the retained compounds into the analytical system. This transfer can be performed splitless for maximum sensitivity.


Flow path heating to 200°C and uniquely effective line purging between samples eliminates carryover. This minimises the requirement for blanks and boosts productivity.


Performance characteristics


Detection limits: <0.1 ppb (1 L sample, quad full scan)

                            <10 ppt (1 L sample, quad SIM mode)


Carryover: Typically <0.2 ng absolute (<0.04%)


Precision: Target air toxic compounds: typically 1–10% RSD


Internal standards: 1–4% RSD


Linear conc. range: Up to 5 orders of magnitude, harnessing split versatility


Simple user interface


Sequence building is a clear and simple process with Markes’ intuitive software. Each channel can be identified as sample, calibrant or blank, and associated with the appropriate analytical method.


Full sequence reporting


All analytical parameters are automatically recorded, enabling quick confirmation of a successful run. Any sequence failure triggers the GC(MS) system to start a blank run to keep the analyser in step with the canister autosampler.

Full compliance with US EPA Method TO-14/15

Monitoring the volatile organic hazardous air pollutants specified in US EPA Method TO-14/15 for air toxics is a key canister application. CIA Advantage offers full compatibility with this method, while providing the productivity and analytical excellence that comes as standard with all Markes systems.


Routine TO-14/15 analysis benefits hugely from the peerless analytical performance of the CIA Advantage coupled with low-cost, cryogen-free operation. Internal standard addition capability is included as standard for optimum reproducibility.


Negligible carryover and the inherent concentration flexibility of the CIA Advantage also mean that ambient air samples can be directly calibrated with small volumes of relatively inexpensive higher-concentration standards if required. (Alternatively, Markes’ diluter can be used to generate low-level standards from ppm-level calibration gases.)


Analytical excellence

Optimum sensitivity


Highly efficient trapping and desorption, even under splitless conditions, makes for optimum sensitivity and resolution. This enhances identification of target analytes, even at trace levels and against the most complex backgrounds.


Negligible carryover


For a system to be capable of analysing samples covering a wide concentration range within a single sequence, it must have exceptionally low sample carryover. By combining a heated lowvolume flow path (operating to up 200°C) and stringent purging steps, the CIA Advantage completely eliminates the risk of analyte condensation and carryover.


Uniquely efficient trapping


High-performance analysis of highly volatile hydrocarbons is straightforward with the CIA Advantage. The efficient design of the UNITY 2 focusing trap, integrated into every CIA Advantage system, even allows quantitative retention of acetylene using sample volumes up to 1.5 L. Moreover, Markes’ technology achieves this without the need for liquid cryogen.

Flexible and future-proof

Wide concentration range


Gas loop and mass flow control sampling options accommodate sample volumes ranging from 0.5 mL to 1 L (depending on the canister size and which CIA Advantage model is chosen).

Negligible carryover and electronically-controlled sample splitting further enhance the dynamic range, allowing both high- and low-concentration samples to be analysed in the same sequence without the need for dilution. Excellent linearity is obtained across the range.


Tube desorption


Sorbent tubes complement canisters, offering compatibility with SVOCs as well as conventional VOC air toxics. Tube desorption capability also facilitates passive sampling for unobtrusive personal monitoring and cost-effective deployment of large numbers of samplers during major field studies. Every CIA Advantage offers Markes’ world-leading manual tube desorption capability featuring SecureTD-Q™ – quantitative sample re-collection for repeat analysis. Tube desorption can also be fully automated, allowing you to adapt your CIA Advantage to any future requirement.


Maximum volatility range


The design and efficiency of the electrically-cooled UNITY 2 focusing trap, integrated into every CIA Advantage system, gives optimum performance for the widest possible range of analytes. Ultra-volatile species such as freons and C2 hydrocarbons can be analysed quantitatively, together with the highest-boiling compounds that can be reliably recovered from canisters or ambient-temperature air/gas streams.


Suitable for fixed and mobile laboratories


Cryogen-free operation means the CIA Advantage is ideal for installation in unattended field monitoring stations (on-line mode) or mobile labs, as well as the traditional laboratory environment.

Economy and productivity

No liquid cryogen


The efficient electrically-cooled trapping used in the CIA Advantage eliminates many of the costs and complexities associated with cryo-cooled systems. This means no topping-up with coolant, fewer interruptions to automated sequences, and simplified water management. Electrical cooling is also fully compliant with US EPA Methods TO-15 and TO-17.


High-throughput operation


With up to 27 channels available, the CIA Advantage allows round-the-clock operation. In addition, a range of sample volumes and widely differing concentrations can be accommodated in the same sequence. This increases the efficiency of workflow and means that uncharacterised samples can be prescreened automatically with no need for dedicated equipment.


Sample integrity – no cross-contamination


Heated internal lines (up to 200°C) and uniquely efficient purging combine to eliminate carryover. This means fewer blanks and more samples, allowing you to generate higher revenue. Even two fewer blanks per day could result in an extra $400, generating up to $100,000 extra income every year (based on a 5- day working week).


Advanced water management


The CIA Advantage deals effectively with even the most humid of samples. Selective purging of water, sophisticated sample splitting and optional in-line dryers reduce water accumulation and maximise up-time. Other air interferences such as CO2 are also selectively purged before analysis.


Easy maintenance and high uptime


The robust modular design of the CIAAdvantage minimises maintenance costs and maximises uptime. Systems are backed-up by Markes’ experienced technical support team, and feature advanced functions for sample security. Internal standard addition and an integrated leak test ensure quantitative sample transfer and reliable data time after time. 

Options and accessories

CIA Satellite


Both the 4-channel CIA Advantage-T and the 14-channel CIA Advantage-HL can be used in conjunction with the CIA Satellite.

This module increases automation by 13 channels in each case, providing extra capacity for canister processing.


Canisters and bags


Markes provides a selection of canisters optimised for US EPA method TO-14/15 and ASTM D5466. The canisters (electropolished or inert coated) contain high-quality metal-to-metal seals and a stainless steel diaphragm valve.




Markes’ diluter makes possible the accurate dilution of a standard gas, allowing the creation of multiple different calibration levels from a single original standard.


Canister racks


Markes’ canister racks hold up to 15 canisters (14 samples and one internal standard). The benchmounted model holds canisters up to 1 L, and the floor-mounted model holds canisters up to 6 L in size.




An optional pump is available to assist in the introduction of samples from non-pressurised sources.


Dryer kit


To assist with the removal of water from humid apolar samples (e.g. C2 to C10 ozone precursors), Markes can provide an optional Nafion® dryer kit.


Canister cleaner


The TO-14/15-compliant TO-Clean canister conditioning system can be adapted for different canister sizes from 12 x 6 L to 48 x miniature canisters. The system is fully automated, allowing the user to start a cleaning cycle and walk away. Using the touch-screen controller, up to ten custom cleaning methods can be defined and loaded as needed. The system also comes with an automated leak-check method, ensuring consistently high performance.

Tube desorption & System upgrades

The CIA Advantage features US EPA Method TO-17-compliant desorption of industry-standard tubes as well as automated canister analysis. Sorbent tubes extend the airborne analyte range beyond the limitations of canisters and other whole-air containers, to include critical semi-volatile pollutants such as middle-distillate fuels, PAHs, phthalates, chemical agents and PCBs. Complete recovery of the vapour fraction of compounds boiling up to n-C40 is possible.


A wide range of sorbent tubes and associated sampling accessories is available from Markes, to allow you to take full advantage of this capability. Key options include method-compliant tubes in stainless steel, glass or inert-coated steel, packed with up to three sorbents arranged in discrete sorbent beds. A range of pumped and passive sampling accessories is also available.


The optional addition of Markes’ UltrA™ autosampler to your CIA Advantage system allows up to 100 sorbent tubes to be processed automatically.


Upgrading an existing UNITY 2 to a CIA Advantage is straightforward due to the modular nature of all Markes systems.


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