Modern Instrumentation for Trace Element Analysis

Trace elements play a critical role in many processes, and the demand for the determination of their chemical forms and concentrations in samples of economic, technological and environmental importance have steadily increased in the last few decades. The significance of such analytes can be observed from the different pieces of legislation establishing their maximum levels in several samples, and their role in the development of new drugs, materials, and processes.

In the Jones/Donati lab we develop analytical methods to determine trace levels of metals and nonmetals in such varied samples as biodiesel fuel, superficial waters, plant material, and animal tissue. Our research is focused on three main areas: (i) developing new strategies to improve the performance of spectrochemical instrumentation such as ICP-OES, ICP-MS and MIP-OES; (ii) designing, constructing and evaluating the analytical performance of low-cost, portable instrumentation for trace element analysis such as WCAES; and (iii) combining modern analytical instrumentation and advanced statistical tools such as principal component analysis and machine learning to study a broad range of issues, from diabetes diagnostics to cancer drug development and matrix effects in quantitative instrumental analysis.