Silylation is the most widely used derivatization procedure for sample analysis by GC. The popularity of silylation reagents is enhanced by their ease of use and formation of derivatives. In silylation, an active hydrogen is replaced by an alkylsilyl group, such as trimethylsilyl (TMS), or t-butyldimethylsilyl (t-BDMS). Compared to their parent compounds, silyl derivatives are more volatile, less polar, and more thermally stable.
Silylation reagents are generally more moisture sensitive, requiring them to be sealed to prevent deactivation. The derivatives of TMS reagents are also more sensitive. In response to this challenge, t-BDMS reagents were introduced, which enables the formation of derivatives 10,000 times more stable against hydrolysis than the TMS ethers.
Both TMS and t-BDMS reagents are suitable for a wide variety of compounds, offer excellent thermal stability, and can be used under a variety of GC conditions and applications. Analysis by GC/MS often requires special sample derivatization and MtBSTFA is very effective for these applications.