Matrix isolation sampling techniques are used in the qualitative and quantitative analysis of polar aromatic hydrocarbons. Fourier transform infrared spectrometry is used to characterize pure compounds isolated in nitrogen matrices and subsequently to identify individual components in mixtures. Compounds studied are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons containing nitrogen and oxygen heteroatoms or amine substituent groups. These toxic substances are common to coal liquefaction products. The analytical method chosen, matrix isolation Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, is capable of distinguishing between isomers differing only in the position of the heteroatom. Beer's law is obeyed in the range between 20 μg and 500 ng.

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