The noble gases are one of the better known groups of elements in the Periodic Table, and whilst some of their applications are obvious, such as the use of helium in balloons, others, such as the use of xenon in medical imaging and as a neuroprotector, or the use of helium as a carrier gas in gas chromatography, are a little more obscure
Gas chromatography is a method for separating the components of a solution and measuring their relative quantities. It is a useful technique for chemicals that do not decompose at high temperatures and when a very small quantity of sample (micrograms) is available. The use of gas chromatography is limited by the decomposition temperature of the components of the mixture and the composition of the column. Most columns cannot withstand temperatures greater than 250-350 °C.