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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Analytics and Chemical Characterization of Materials and Processes

Periods
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   
1.08.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Control and care of the environment   

Code Science Field
P300  Natural sciences and mathematics  Analytical chemistry 
Keywords
analytical chemistry; development of analytical methodologies and tools; trace analysis; bioanalytics; micro- and nano-characterization/technology; inorganic and organic pollutants; biologically important compounds; sensors and biosensors; microsensors; novel sensing materials; hyphenated analytical techniques; flow analytical systems; chromatography; electroanalysis; elemental mass spectrometry; laser techniques; miniaturization; modelling; chemical speciation of elements and compounds; sampling and characterization of aerosol particulate matter; aerosol reactivity; kinetics and mechanisms of atmospheric chemical processes; environmental, bio-medical and industrial systems; health and food safety.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (29)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22304  PhD Mojca Bavcon Kralj  Chemistry  Researcher  2005 - 2008  204 
2.  29849  PhD Michael Philip Beeston  Chemistry  Researcher  2008  15 
3.  06091  PhD Mirko Bizjak  Chemistry  Researcher  2004  257 
4.  26249  Aleš Boškin  Control and care of the environment  Technical associate  2006 - 2008  16 
5.  29481  PhD Sara Budal  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2008 
6.  09774  PhD Bojan Budič  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  211 
7.  27536  PhD Ana Čevdek  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2008 
8.  04537  PhD Mladen Franko  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2004 - 2008  608 
9.  18209  Olga Gorše    Researcher  2004 
10.  03587  PhD Irena Grgić  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  364 
11.  18555  PhD Samo Hočevar  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  245 
12.  28567  PhD Mersida Janeva Azdejković  Mechanical design  Junior researcher  2008 
13.  23431  PhD Vasko Jovanovski  Chemistry  Researcher  2008  128 
14.  26037  Vesna Lenarčič    Technical associate  2005 - 2008 
15.  26514  PhD Lea Mauko  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2006 - 2008 
16.  21244  PhD Jan Mavri  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004  58 
17.  21387  PhD Branka Mozetič Vodopivec  Plant production  Researcher  2004 - 2008  144 
18.  18208  Breda Novak    Technical associate  2004 - 2008  24 
19.  04425  PhD Milko Novič  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2005  259 
20.  02285  PhD Božidar Ogorevc  Chemistry  Head  2004 - 2008  309 
21.  19054  PhD Miroslav Planinc Kovačevič  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2006  80 
22.  20394  PhD Boštjan Podkrajšek  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2004 - 2005  74 
23.  28274  Helena Radič    Technical associate  2007 
24.  24801  Marija Slavec  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  15 
25.  23492  PhD Vid Simon Šelih  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2008  206 
26.  16348  PhD Janja Turšič  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2004 - 2007  236 
27.  23261  PhD Johannes Teun Van Elteren  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  265 
28.  21682  Nuša Verbič  Chemistry  Technical associate  2005 - 2008  10 
29.  17260  Lidija Živec    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  20,968 
2.  1540  University of Nova Gorica  Nova Gorica  5920884000  14,067 
Abstract
This research program, carried out by a team of scientists from the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the National Institute of Chemistry (8 scientists) and the Laboratory for Environmental Research at Nova Gorica Polytechnic (one scientist), focuses on advanced and relevant research in the field of analytics and chemical characterization of materials and processes. The excellence of the team scientists, the availability of state-of-the-art equipment and cooperation with reputable (inter)national research groups allow for the targeting of challenging research topics, all of which represent ample training and education opportunities for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. The research program is divided into two complementary and interconnected thematic blocks. Thematic block A (technique-oriented research) - Complex material/sample analysis (i) Research on hyphenation of flow separation/sample preparation techniques (liquid/ion chromatography, flow injection analysis) with various detection systems (electrochemical and UV/Vis diode array detection, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, thermal lens spectrometry, surface plasmone resonance) for retrieval of detailed chemical information from complex matrices, which also includes modelling of separation processes. (ii) Research on direct, non-destructive analysis, including development of various types of electrochemical and optical sensors and biosensors by seeking and implementing technologically new electrodes and modification materials (e.g. nanoparticles, bioactive compounds), new coating techniques, etc. for the detection of relevant inorganic and biologically important compounds in complex environmental and biomedical samples. - Trace and ultratrace analysis (i) Studies are oriented to solving spectral, matrix macrocomponent and solvent interferences in contemporary elemental analysis techniques such as ICP-MS and ICP-atomic emission spectrometry to find new routes and to assure the reliability of (ultra)trace analyses. (ii) Development of electrochemical (stripping) trace analysis mainly based on the newly introduced bismuth electrode, with emphasis on developing tools for fast on-field analysis/decentralised testing. - Miniaturization of detection devices Development of novel micro- and nano-electrodes and sensors based on (etched) carbon or metal fibres/wires, paste, microtubes, etc. These are designed for detection in extremely small environments (volumes or locations) to open new application possibilities in biomedical research, diagnostics, environmental protection and industry. Thematic block B (problem-oriented research) - Atmospheric chemical processes Studies are focused on the transformation of some gaseous pollutants (SO2, NOx, NH3) in the tropospheric aqueous phase, and formation of acidic components and secondary aerosols. Particular attention is paid to transition metals (e.g. Fe, Mn) which behave as catalytically active species, as well as to some organic components (e.g. carboxylic acids, aldehydes, alcohols, etc.) whose role in atmospheric chemical processes is still not fully explained. Using specifically designed instrumentation, reaction kinetics in model solutions are studied as well as the chemical reactivity of real (mostly sub-micrometer sized) aerosols, depending on their size and composition. -Chemical speciation Novel speciation methodologies (sequential extraction and hyphenated techniques) are developed and specific instrumental approaches, such as x-ray absorption spectrometry, are employed for speciation of elements selected on the basis of their risk levels and degree of pollution in a multitude of relevant environmental samples (soil, water, etc.) by studying and determining their oxidation state, complexes and their binding to the solid phase.
Significance for science
Scientific and research activities conducted within the research programme were directed at seeking novel concepts and scientific findings as well as the development of new methodological approaches and tools in the field of trace analytics and chemical characterization of various complex (bio)materials and chemical processes. Because of the high relevance of the research contents it is possible to claim that the contribution of the programme group to global science was notably large, which is additionally supported by the successful scientific record of the group and its strong involvement in collaboration at national and international levels. For chemical analysis of complex samples or analysis in more exotic environments (micro litre or micrometre scale) and for increased sensitivity, selectivity, reliability and robustness of modern analytical methods and tools, it is necessary to inventively hyphenate and study separation and detection analytical systems. We therefore consider that our research, particularly in the fields of chemical speciation, bioanalytics and environmental analysis, was highly topical. Because of increasing global demands for fast, simple, inexpensive and decentralized analytical protocols as well as miniaturization of sensor systems, the study and development of chemical sensors, biosensors and microsensors, including the introduction of advanced nano-sized, nano-structured and sol-gel derived materials for their preparation, can assure our contribution to the advancement of modern analytical science. We believe that the further development and wider use of the bismuth and the recently in our lab introduced antimony film electrodes poses a significant contribution to the progress of science, as they can both successfully replace the so far commonly used toxic mercury electrode for the measurement of trace heavy metals. The study, determination and understanding of the fate of chemical species is an on-going challenge and significant efforts are essential in order to make progress in this experimentally very demanding field. Our research was therefore directed into those investigations where the application of combinations of various destructive and non-destructive approaches was expected to give scientifically most promising results in this area. Important scientific results were achieved in all those areas of our research, where laser ablation as a new direct microsampling method was applied. Our research encompassing chemical characterization of fine atmospheric aerosols resulted in the knowledge, which could be used in various models for the prediction of formation and distribution of atmospheric particles and contribute to a better understanding of complex atmospheric reaction mechanisms. Due to so far insufficiently developed analytical methodologies and approaches many natural processes have not been extensively studied yet. Analytical methods with improved sensitivity were developed, which allowed us to explain and confirm selected biological processes and the key factors involved, e.g. transport of antioxidants through cell membranes, etc. The significance of our scientific research is evident from publications in leading scientific journals with a high impact factor, e.g. J. Am. Chem. Soc., Anal. Chem., Trends Anal. Chem. (both leading journals in the field of analytical chemistry), J. Anal. At. Spectr., etc. A high number of citations, fruitful collaboration with some of the most eminent scientists and institutions, as well as involvement in international projects and collaborations are the proof of our scientific quality and the significance of our work.
Significance for the country
The research programme enabled indirect and direct transfer of knowledge as well as the use of results at several important segments, which are closely connected with the level of Slovenia's socio-economic development. On the basis of investigations and new achievements our group has significantly contributed to Slovenia's technological and sustainable development. As previously stated, the direction of our investigations was adjusted in accordance with the global trends and the increasing demands in the field of environmental care (study of aerosols, their formation routes through atmospheric processes and their influence on climate change, speciation, determination of trace heavy metals), bio-medicine (chemical analysis of complex organic samples, development of sensors, biosensors and micro-sensors, development of micro-analytical methods applicable in modern diagnostic), food safety (bio-analytics of some toxic and essential components), industrial monitoring (solving problems of effective chemical analysis in process and final chemical control) and in the field of natural and cultural heritage (non-destructive chemical analysis and micro-analysis of materials and objects of historical importance). The evidence of involvement of our research in Slovenia's socio-economic progress was also our successful cooperation with numerous partners from the industry, such as Salonit Anhovo, Fructal, Lek, Krka, etc., which keep expressing a strong need for cooperation with our group. The data on the total amount of elements in environmental and other samples is not sufficient anymore for political decisions concerning sustainable development and health protection, thus taking chemical speciation to the forefront of environmental analytics. It is necessary to determine the legal limits for chemical species within the environment (air, water, soil) due to their direct link to drinking water, food chain and respiratory system. Our research contributed adequate knowledge, analytical tools and methodologies, which were necessary for development of efficient and low-cost strategies for environmental and health protection. An important part of our activities was devoted to the mentorship work with under- and postgraduate students, young researchers and postdoctoral students, with the aim of efficient transfer of knowledge, education and the creation of top-level young scientific researchers. The members of our group have been mentors or co-mentors to many BSc, MSc, PhD students, as well as postdoctoral visitors from abroad. A large part of our activities within the programme was devoted to the cooperation with groups from various research and higher education institutions in Slovenia (Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Biotechnical Faculty, Medical Faculty, Veterinary Faculty, all ULJ, University of Maribor, Institute Jožef Stefan and the University of Nova Gorica). In this frame the complementary exchange of equipment, knowledge and experience was carried out. Some other activities were conducted in the frame of the programme, like training specialists, advisory activity, assistance to partners in solving special analytical problems, organization of scientific meetings and work seminars, etc. The participation in many international meetings, involvement in international collaboration, project partnerships and networks, as well as exchange of visits and a high level of our research achievements have all notably contributed to the promotion of Slovenian science and the international reputation of Slovenia in general.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
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