Analytics and online monitoring

Laboratory of Green Chemistry has excellent facilities for analyzing environmental samples. Studies using ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) have been conducted in the laboratory right from the beginning. Furthermore, research in environmental analysis deals with water quality studies and preparation of novel materials for environmental electroanalysis.

Ion mobility spectrometry

IMS applies ionization and analysis of the ions formed at ambient temperature and pressure. It can be used to analyze numerous compounds but is mainly used in various demanding applications, including the field or on-site detection of vapor phase species such as chemical weapons, explosives and drugs.

Currently IMS has increasing number of applications in environmental analytics. Ion mobility spectrometers are similar to time-of-flight mass spectrometers though operation at ambient pressure has its own pros and cons. Our instrumentation enables exact and accurate measurements. 

Ongoing research in laboratory

IMS Quantitative Analysis  

IMS can be used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of both organic and inorganic compounds. The aim of quantitative studies is to systematically investigate the dependency between the analyte concentration and response generated by the IMS device. This research has the ambition for IMS to be total analytical device instead of being qualitative warning system. This objective is possible to achieve with certain samples in the laboratory conditions.  

IMS and Sample Introduction Methods

Different sample introduction methods are studied for sampling aqueous samples for IMS. In recent study solid-phase microextraction (SPME) has used in determination of chlorophenols in water. SPME is a straightforward technique to concentrate organic compounds from liquid samples. Membrane extraction is also utilized in combination with IMS in determining of organic pollutants in aqueous phases.

In some applications (combinations like IMS– MS or IMS– GC) the IMS itself works as sample introduction/separation/preconcentration method. Combined with suitable sample introduction method ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) can be a feasible early-warning technique for detection of hazardous substances from environmental matrices.

Carbonized cellulose films in sensor applications

Carbon materials provide excellent electrode materials due to their good electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, and featureless capacitive background. The main idea of this research is to use widely available cellulose and especially its nano-structures to produce thin films which can then be pyrolysed to carbon films on electrodes and therefore produce cheaply and easily new carbon electrodes to sensors. 

Combining pyrolysed cellulose with semiconductors such as TiO2 to form composite carbonized cellulose films on electrodes is also studied.

Protection of Waters in Egypt

The study is covering the water quality evaluation of surface water bodies. The focus is the water quality upgrading of Lake Qarun (Egypt) and its recharge sources using constructed wetland and desalination processes. This project includes the following of geochemical evolution of natural waters using different geochemical modelling and determination the source of major ions and heavy metals in natural waters.

Water quality of the "Water Tower of Asia" – Tibetan Plateau 

Research focuses on the impacts of climate change on water quality in Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings by analyzing the heavy metals and mercury concentrations in river waters collected in different seasons. It's important to conduct a systematic assessment to establish a chemical database of quality state of Asian water tower.

Environmental organics 

VOC's, PAH's, chlorophenols, hydrocarbons in range C10 to C40 are ubiquitous because of the fact that they are released in appreciable quantities every year into the environment through the combustion of organic materials such as coal, fuel, oils, petrol, wood, refuse and plant materials. Some of these are carcinogenic or mutagenic, their presences in the environment are regularly monitored and controlled. We are developing more efficient methods for analysis of these organic compounds.

Previous research

  • Developing alternative, nonradioactive ionization methods for IMS
  • Quantitative analysis additives called dopants
  • Thermal evaporation of ionic liquids and determination by IMS
  • Effect of humidity in IMS have been previously studied. 
  • Ion sensing on junction
  • DNA sensors in environmental analysis 

Department of Green Chemistry

Head of the Department
Professor Mika Sillanpää
tel. +358 400 205 215

Street and postal address:
Sammonkatu 12 (Innovation centre for safety and material technology, TUMA)
50130 Mikkeli, Finland