Department of Analytical Chemistry. Photo: André Künzelmann/UFZ

Department of Analytical Chemistry

To what extent are the various environmental compartments polluted with organic and inorganic contaminants? What analytical techniques should we develop to detect previously unrecognized pollutants? How do chemicals in environmental systems behave and what knowledge do we need to predict their behaviour? What processes can reduce contamination ?

The "chemical universe", the diversity of combinations and forms in which chemical elements and organic compounds occur, is immense. Chemical and biological processes can further transform compounds. It is highly challenging to track these processes and to identify the transformation products, particularly at low concentration levels.

This is the area on which our research in analytical and environmental chemistry focuses.. In terms of analysis, we need very effective and sensitive methods with which to quantify a broad spectrum of contaminants . To this end, we in the Department of Analytical Chemistry (ANA) are developing methods of element speciation, multimethods for the simultaneous analysis of many analytes, and screening methods with which previously unknown pollutants can be determined. We are also improving methods to detect and identify transformation products. All of these methods use the most advanced technology in chromatography and mass spectrometry.

In cooperation with other disciplines, we apply these analytical methods to improve our understanding of the occurrence and behaviour of trace contaminants in natural and technical systems and to better understand biological effects. We aim at performing systematic studies and generating quantitative data which allow a transfer of knowledge from one chemical structure to another.

Our goal is to develop and to make use of innovative analytical methods with which to acquire knowledge on the occurrence and behaviour of contaminants in the environment. This knowledge supports the assessment of chemicals and the understanding of translocation, transformation and removal processes.