The analysis of contaminants in the different environmental compartments requires extensive sample treatment methods to capture and purify trace levels of targeted substances in relatively complex media. Environmental monitoring is a growing need. Paradoxically, the analysis of pollution is done with analytical processes that cause important chemical waste. For environmental monitoring of a single site, hundreds of disposable plastic extraction cartridges, syringes and filters are typically used. Furthermore, these single-use consumables are costly and make environmental monitoring unaffordable for labs with low budget and where the analysis may be most needed.
The present work will prepare materials for analytical used based on natural products. The starting point will be natural sorbents with suitable characteristics. Going further, natural materials will be derivatised to improve their properties for their use in analysis. Finally, components from natural products will be used for the synthesis of advanced materials with optimal characteristics. The development in this thesis will be done following green chemistry practices. The target analytes will be perfluoroalkyl substances, bisphenols and other components of plastic materials. The PhD candidate will learn synthesis, characterisation of materials as well as relevant sample treatment techniques (e.g solid phase extraction, liquid phase microextraction) and analytical techniques such as LC-UV, GC-FID, GC-MS, LC-MS and SEM-EDX, XRD.
The project requires background in materials science, inorganic, organic, physical chemistry, and analytical chemistry and, importantly, interest in environmental topics.