What are specialty gases and why are they so special?

What are specialty gases and why are they so special?

Have you ever gone deep-sea diving, had an MRI or used a cell phone? Then you have high purity specialty gases to thank for that.

What are Specialty Gases?

High purity gases like Helium, Nitrogen, or Oxygen, as well as other valuable gases, are what many refer to as specialty gases. Specialty gases are rare or ultra-high purity gases that consist of one single gas or a gas mixture containing components at high concentrations. They are closely scrutinized for purity from the percent range down to part per billion and sometimes even part per trillion (99.995 percent min. purity to 99.99999% ) as they are used in a wide range of applications from medical and pharmaceutical fields, to manufacturing plants, refineries, research labs, and nuclear power plants. 

Why Use Specialty Gases?

Many different industries require compressed gases with higher levels of purity and more precise accuracies than your standard industrial or medical gas. The benefit of higher purity specialty gases is that they provide the unique properties that can help improve yields, optimize performance and lower costs due to the less contamination and lower concentrations of impurities that can cause problems down the road.  

Why are Specialty Gases so special?

The high level of purity, compared to the same gas at an industrial or medical purity, is one of the differentiators that make a specialty gas special.


Helium for example, at 99.9995 percent purity or grade 5.5 (five 9s and a 5) it is used for fiber optics like the ones cell phone towers use and grade 6 (six 9s) is the closest you can get to 100 percent pure helium and is used in the manufacturing of semiconductor chips, or most of us know them as the tiny wafers that pack the power behind our smart phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and more. It’s also used in research laboratories, laser cutting, and MRI machines.  


Nitrogen is another common specialty gas that can be used for several different purposes, ranging from lab research to manufacturing of electronic devices. For example, the pharmaceutical industry requires ultra-high purity or UHP nitrogen (99.999 percent min. purity) for applications where shield gas is needed for certain medicines. UHP Nitrogen is also commonly used as a carrier gas, purge gas or detector gas for a range of analytical equipment.


When you think of oxygen, most people picture a friend or family member hooked up to an oxygen tank to help them breathe. But oxygen at its purest form is used for so many different things.  The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards require medical grade oxygen to be no less than 99.0 percent purity and not more than 99.6 purity. It is not necessary for humans to breathe 100% oxygen. Whereas the purity and grade of oxygen gas in fields such as industrial, cryogenic, food processing, scientific and laboratories is crucial. Grade 5.0 oxygen (99.999 percent pure) is sometimes referred to as research grade.  This is the highest purity of oxygen manufactured in the US and is typically found in research facilities. Its non-research uses include welding of titanium and titanium alloys for the nuclear or aerospace industry as well as glass and ceramic production and other such industry applications.

MIJA: Improving Gas Management for Companies Across the World

If your organization could benefit from a more accurate measure of special gases within your environment, contact the sales team at MIJA today! As gauge industry experts, we will work with you and learn more about your needs to provide a product that will save you money while improving safety. Call us today at (+1) 781-871-5750 or fill out the contact form on this page.

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