CAWR high-performance analytical hub

A unique high-performance analytical hub has been developed at CAWR enabling the Centre to widen research areas and take a quantum leap in many scientific studies. The CAWR high-performance analytical hub includes five laboratories (Pollution Dynamics Lab, Environmental Monitoring and Field Simulation Lab, Microbiology Lab, Soil Lab, Sample Preparation Lab) which support environmental sample preparation, analysis of both inorganic and organic compounds, microbiology and telemetry for field experiments. The CAWR analytical hub has been equipped with instrumentation capable of analysing virtually any matrix combined with advanced data analysis software.

Research equipment available

Perkin Elmer 5300 DV

The Perkin Elmer Optima 5300V offers a classic vertical torch configuration of the proven dual-view Optima 5300 DV ICP-OES system. The robust sample introduction system, with its efficient sample transport, makes analysing samples fast and easy with high precision and accuracy.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Elemental Analysis Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science, Soil science, Environmental engineering, Analytical chemistry, Material science, Geochemistry

It is analytical technique in which the elemental composition of mostly water-dissolved samples can be determined using plasma and a spectrophotometer. Atoms and ions absorb energy created in an Argon plasma and get excited. These excited atoms then release that energy excess emitting light at specific and wavelengths (characteristic for each atom/ion) as they return to their ground state.

The light emitted is directly proportional to the number of atoms/ions undertaking this transition. This light is measured at each wavelength and used to calculate the amount of the element that created those atoms/ions.

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Agilent 7900 (with UHMI)

The 7900 ICP-MS provides the high performance and sensitivity, and fast acquisition of transient signals – necessary for analysis of nanoparticles, single cells, and for laser ablation.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Trace Element Analysis Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science, soil science, environmental engineering, analytical chemistry, material science, geochemistry

It is a type of mass spectrometry that uses an inductively coupled plasma decomposes a sample into its most elemental particles, i.e. atoms. These atoms are then ionized in a self-sustained Argon plasma becoming ions.During this process other polyatomic ions and clusters can be formed. These ions are then transferred to an octupole collision cell by means of ionic lenses, where they react with Helium and break apart before being mass analysed in a quadrupole.

The Agilent 7900 ICP-MS is the latest generation of long-lived Agilent ICP-MS instruments equipped with of new re-design ion lens and improvements in the mass analyser section. The outcome of this is a system that provides lower detection limits, a wider dynamic range, better signal-to-noise ratio and a higher tolerance for total dissolved solids (up to 25% with the Ultra High Matrix Introduction design).

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Thermo Q-Exactive coupled with uHPLC (Thermo Vanquish)

This HRAMS instrument is a state-of-the-art equipped with the latest Orbitrap technology. Additionally, to the Orbitrap mass analyser, this instrument is equipped with a quadrupole mass filter for enhanced mass selectivity (precursor ion selection) and high energy collision cell.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Organic compounds and their degradation products Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science, soil science, environmental engineering, analytical chemistry, etc.

This powerful analytical tool allows for highly accurate screening of samples for targeted and non-targeted analysis, enabled by advanced software such as Thermo Scientific’s Compound Discoverer. It can also be used to rigorously quantitate several hundreds of known compounds in a single run.

Utilising the suite of sample preparation techniques available to us at CAWR – both online and offline SPE and Advanced Solvent Extraction, the Q-Exactive is an indispensable tool that allows analysis of many relevant matrices, including water (drinking, surface, ground, treated and untreated sewage effluents etc), soil (clay, loam, sand etc), plant material, synthetic mulches and many more.

The range of compounds ideally suited for HRAMS-LCMS analysis includes, but is not limited to pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, flame retardants, plasticisers and other leachable and extractable compounds, perfluorinated compounds, drugs of abuse, endocrine disruptors and disinfection by-products among others.

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Thermo Equan Max Plus

The EQuan MAX Plus is a fully automated dual sample preparation and injection system which enables analysis of trace levels of environmental contaminants. It utilises column switching to automate sample pre-concentration and analysis and can utilise sample volumes from as little as 1uL and as large as 20mL.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Trace organic analysis: chromatographic front-end separation Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science,
analytical chemistry

The environmental impact of using the EQuan MAX Plus is also considerably lower than traditional sample preparation techniques, as the sample’s volume required for analysis is greatly reduced, which in turn reduces sample transport and storage costs. The volumes of solvent(s) required are also much lower when comparing to off-line techniques.

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Gilson ASPEC GX-271 (with large volume capability)

Water samples must be prepared prior to analysis, which consists of extracting and cleaning-up the chemicals of interest from the sample medium (e.g. water). Sample preparation is the most time consuming step and the greatest source of variation in chemical analyses. Solid phase extraction (SPE) is a powerful and rapid technique frequently used for sample extraction and clean-up. In order to obtain good quality results manual SPE methods depend on the experience of the operator and on how meticulously each step is performed. 

Location Research Areas
Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science,
analytical chemistry

The extraction efficiency of manual SPE can be highly variable. Automating the SPE process eliminates extensive and tedious manual sample preparation steps; decreases variability; increases reliability and extraction efficiency; and decreases sample preparation time. In addition, ASPE reduces exposure of laboratory staff and the environment to potentially hazardous solvents.

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Thermo Dionex HPIC Integrion

This is a last generation high-pressure ion chromatography system that can operate up to 5000psi using the new high-efficiency 4µm particle-size columns for improved peak resolution. This instrument allows for an easier determination of both inorganic cations and anions in a sample by the change in conductivity. Additionally, it can be used as well for highly polar organic compounds (such as glyphosate). The HPIC Integrion can work as a standalone instrument or coupled to our HRAMS Q-Exactive Focus mass spectrometer. When hyphenated to an MS instrument it provides an additional dimension for environmental analysis, by overcoming the inherent problems of analysing compounds such as highly polar pesticides.

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Analysis Location Research Areas
Trace organic analysis for organic and inorganic anions Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science

The Integrion system has many potential applications, including, but not limited to the analysis of major anions such as fluoride, chloride, nitrate, nitrite and sulphate, as well as major cations such as lithium, sodium, ammonium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Other applications include analysis of sugars, amines, disinfection by-products, vitamins and organic acids.

Thermo Dionex ASE-350

Automate extraction, filtration and clean-up of compounds from solid and semisolid samples in minutes using the automated Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ ASE™ 350 Accelerated Solvent Extractor. This system accommodates sample sizes of 1-100g, allows unattended extraction of up to 24 samples and uses 50 to 90% less solvent compared to other methods. The chemically inert pathway supports acid and alkaline sample matrices and solvents. Flexible, easy-to-operate and cost-effective, the Dionex ASE 350 is ideally suited for high-throughput laboratories and for a wide variety of applications.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Sample preperation, extraction procedures Pollution Dynamics Lab Environmental science

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Nicolet iN10MX FTIR Microscope

This instrument combine FTIR spectrometer and microscope with the ability to measure samples down to a few microns. FTIR is non-destructive and requires little or no sample preparation. It is fully automated system performance verification provides maximum confidence. This instrument has room temperature and liquid nitrogen detectors. Nicolet iN10MX FT-IR uses Thermo Scientific™ OMNIC™ Specta Software providing spectral identification of pure compounds and mixtures.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Microspectroscopy, material identification, functional group identification, packaging and laminates, coatings, API mixtures distribution mapping; contaminant identification, failure analysis; micron-particle identification; size of particles and their morphology, particle distribution in the samples, etc. Environmental Monitoring and Field Simulation Lab Environmental science, soil science, environmental engineering, material science, geochemistry, etc.

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DXR3 Raman Microscope

Raman microscopy provides spatial resolution down to the sub-micron level. Raman imaging enables to map chemistries across areas of a sample to identify inclusions, contaminants, homogeneity or interfaces. Raman is generally non-destructive and requires little or no sample preparation. Raman is good for examining solid samples and aqueous solutions.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Microspectroscopy, material identification, functional group identification, submicron-particle identification; size of particles and their morphology, particle distribution in the samples, etc. Environmental Monitoring and Field Simulation Lab Environmental science, soil science, environmental engineering, material science, geochemistry, etc.

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Milestone Ethos UP

A microwave digester is an automated system to prepare samples for chemical analysis. It can extract both inorganic organic chemicals from any sample prior to analysis. Sample preparation is a necessary and fundamental step before any sample can be chemically analysed and its importance cannot be underestimated. Among the plethora of techniques used for sample preparation, microwave (MW) digestion is an essential stage for inorganic (e.g. metals) determination(s) in any chemical laboratory, as it extracts metals from soil, sediment or tissue prior to subsequent analysis. New hardware developments have, however, also led to MW digestion to be used for solvent extraction of organic compounds (e.g. pesticides, dioxins, etc.) from environmental samples, making this technique much more versatile.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Sample preparation, extraction procedures, sample digestion Sample Preparation Lab Environmental science, soil science, environmental engineering, material science, geochemistry, analytical chemistry, etc.

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Dumas Analyser

The Dumas principle is an analytical chemistry method to determine the carbon and nitrogen content in samples. The method is based on the combusting of a sample at 1000°C in the presence of oxygen, whereby the carbon and nitrogen are converted to CO2 and NOx respectively. Both gasses are separated by chromatography and measured in a thermal conductivity cell. To calculate the crude protein content of samples (multiplying N with 6.25) the Dumas method can be used as an alternative for the Kjeldahl method.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Gas analyser (e.g. CO2 and NOx) Environmental Monitoring and Field Simulation Lab Environmental science, soil science, etc.

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Freeze Dryer

Also known as lyophilisation or cryodesiccation, is a low temperature dehydration process that involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation. This is in contrast to dehydration by most conventional methods that evaporate water using heat.

Analysis Location
Sample preparation and storage Soil lab

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Nikon high magnification microbiological fluorescence microscope

A fluorescence microscope uses fluorescence and phosphorescence instead of, or in addition to, reflection and absorption to study specimens. A sample is illuminated with light of a wavelength which excites fluorescence in the sample. Typical components of a fluorescence microscope are a light source, excitation filter, the dichroic mirror (or dichroic beamsplitter), and emission filter. Fluorescence microscopes can be used for many different applications including localization of specific proteins, determining the shape of organs, cells, and intracellular structures, studying protein interactions or conformation, examining ion concentration and observing live cells. Look for ease of use, ergonomic features, multiple modes, high resolution and the possibility to upgrade.

Analysis Location Research Areas
Microbiological microscopy analysis Microbiology Lab Microbiology, environmental science, etc.

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Academic Lead - Dr Anna Bogush (Associate Professor, contact for potential research collaboration)
Laboratory Technician - Sam Towers (contact for technical aspects of CAWR analytical equipment)

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