The main objective of our research is the development of state-of-the-art analytical techniques that allow for the advanced study of metal species' chemistry and biochemistry as it relates to environmental and biological systems. The analytical methods we are currently developing fall within the following groups:


Nanoparticle detection and elemental composition determination.


To achieve this we are currently developing and using a variety of separation techniques suitable for nanoparticle separation, i.e. ion mobility spectrometry and hydrodynamic chromatography, on-line and off-line with ICP-MS. To maximise sensitivity and thus achieve extremely low limits of detection the ICP-MS is operated in the single particle mode. The ultimate objective is to make these approaches suitable for the determination of nanoparticles in environmental and biological samples.


Mass Spectrometric Methods for Characterising Metal Species of As, Se, Sb and Cr.


The focus here is to take advantage of the capabilities of the tandem mass spectrometers currently available [enhanced-resolution triple quadrupole systemand an ion trap mass analyser capable of MS^10] fitted with electrospray/nanoelectrospray and atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation (APCI) sources. In addition, with our collaborators, electrospray Fourier Transform -Ion Cyclotron Resonance - Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) and orbitrap MS is also being used.


Metal Speciation for Metalloproteomics in Nanolitre Samples


The objective in this case is the development of extremely sensitive and selective analytical methods, suitable for conducting metal speciation in nanolitre or microlitre samples of environmental and/or biological origin. Emphasis in this case is given to the development of nanoscale separation and sample introduction systems for inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. These analytical approaches will be used for the analysis of biological samples for their metalloprotein content.


Sonic Spray Ionization Mass Spectrometry


The objective of this research is to further improve and better understand Sonic Spray Ionization for the purpose of using it to analyze a variety of different analyte types (including coordination compounds, proteins, peptides, organometallics, etc.). Emphasis is placed on identifying differences and advantages over electrospray ionization. A prototype source is being developed.









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