Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Outstanding Reviewers for JAAS in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for JAAS in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Dmitry Bandura, Fluidigm Canada

Professor Edenir Filho, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos

Dr Erico Flores, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria

Professor Gábor Galbács, University of Szeged

Dr Heidi Goenaga-Infante, LGC

Professor Takafumi Hirata, University of Tokyo

Professor Zhaochu Hu, China University of Geosciences

Dr Dmitriy Malinovskiy, LGC

Dr Pawel Pohl, Wroclaw University of Technology

Dr Jose Vadillo, Universidad de Malaga

We would also like to thank the JAAS board and the analytical science community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.


If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre

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JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship recipient

We are delighted to announce Sohail Mushtaq as the recipent of the 2016 JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship. This Lectureship was launched to recognise and support an emerging scientist working in the area of atomic spectrometry in the early stages of their independent career.

Sohail Mushtaq

Sohail Mushtaq

Introducing Sohail Mushtaq, London Metropolitan University:

Sohail Mushtaq received his M.Sc degree in 2005 and his M.Phil in 2007, both from the Government College University Lahore (GCUL), Pakistan. During his M.Phil research project, he was awarded a scholarship by the ICSC-World Laboratory and also appointed as M.Phil Research Fellow at Salam Chair, Physics Department, GCUL. After his M.Phil degree he was selected as the Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher at Imperial College London to work with Prof. J. C. Pickering in the EC Research Training Network on Analytical Glow Discharges (GLADNET). After his PhD in 2011 at Imperial College on the effects of small amounts of molecular gases in analytical glow discharges, he took up a postdoctoral position with Prof. Edward Steers at London Metropolitan University. He has extensive experience of using the Imperial Fourier Transform spectrometer and glow discharge sources, and has carried out experimental work at EAG (Syracuse, USA), EMPA (Thun, Switzerland), BAM (Berlin) and IFW Dresden (Germany). He has made a significant impact in the field with 17 publications; including three papers with work featured on the front cover of JAAS and is internationally known for his work on molecular gases in glow discharges. He was awarded the Payling prize for the best contribution by a young scientist at the 2nd IGDSS (Internl. GDS Symposium), Prague. His main research interest is in the fundamental processes in glow discharges and their dependence on the plasma constituents.

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Congratulation to the ISEAC 39 poster prize winner

Congratulations to our JAAS Poster Prize winner at the recent ISEAC 39 (39th International Symposium on Environmental Analytical Chemistry) meeting in Hamburg, Germany.  The central subject of the ISEAC-39 conference that took place at the University of Hamburg, from July 19th – 22nd 2016 was the innovative use of analytical methods for the investigation of environmentally and food relevant questions.

The winner was Anja Brandt with her poster on the direct detection of metal nanoparticles by high resolution continuum source GFAAS.

Well done Anja!

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Open Access articles in JAAS

We are very pleased to share with you below some of the latest Open Access papers published in JAAS that may be of interest to you. These research papers are free to access for all – we hope you enjoy reading them.

Stijn J. M. Van Malderen, Amy J. Managh, Barry L. Sharp and Frank Vanhaecke
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2016, 31, 423-439
DOI: 10.1039/C5JA00430F, Critical Review

Alexandra Sixto, Marta Fiedoruk-Pogrebniak, María Rosende, David Cocovi-Solberg, Moisés Knochen and Manuel Miró
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2016, 31, 473-481
DOI: 10.1039/C5JA00387C, Paper

Alexander Nyrow, Christian Sternemann, John S. Tse, Christopher Weis, Christoph J. Sahle, Kolja Mende, D. C. Florian Wieland, Valerio Cerantola, Robert A. Gordon, Georg Spiekermann, Tom Regier, Max Wilke and Metin Tolan
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2016, 31, 815-820
DOI: 10.1039/C5JA00261C, Technical Note
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ISEAC 39 – University of Hamburg

The ISEAC 39 Conference will take place at the University of Hamburg from July 19th – July 22nd 2016.

The central subject of the conference is the innovative use of analytical methods for the investigation of environmentally and food relevant questions.

Topics for discussion:

  • Sampling
  • Non-targeted approaches (screening, fingerprinting, profiling, barcoding, omicstechnologies)
  • Targeted approaches (detection, identification and quantification of organic compounds)
  • Rapid testing and on-site applications (sensors, biosensors)
  • Bioinformatics (processing, recycling, sharing, storage)
  • Risk assessment

‘The Symposium will bring together both established and young researchers in academia, public and industrial laboratories involved in the field of environmental and food analytics and hard ware  manufacturers involved in the development and distribution of analytical instrumentation relevant for this interdisciplinary field.’

The meeting will include lectures, poster sessions, an exhibition and will provide plenty of time for the distribution of knowledge on the latest developments in analytical methods for environmental and food analysis.

For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Jose Broekaert or Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer

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The Next Generation – An Interview with Shudi Zhang and Zhibin Yin

We have a double feature today. We interview Shudi Zhang and Zhibin Yin, who are carrying out their PhDs under the supervision of Prof Dr. Wei Hang at Xiamen University (China), and who we had the opportunity to meet during the recent 6th Asia-Pacific Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry.

Shudi Zhang in his lab in Xiamen

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

There was a common saying in Chinese that there would not be anything to be afraid of if you learned Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry well. That was what my parents and teachers had always been telling me. Thereby I studied these subjects strenuously and found them interesting, especially Chemistry. I thought that it was a great wonder to witness two substances reacting with each other and giving rise to various fabulous scenes, like color altering, foaming, glowing, booming and so forth. Plus, it felt so good when I was able to explain the fundamental mechanism of some conventional phenomena in daily life. Hence, I decided to work on Chemistry and try to make a contribution to it.

Why did you choose your research group/University and what factors influenced your choice?

First of all, Chemistry is one of the best majors in Xiamen University, and the milieu here for doing research is perfect. Secondly, Professor Wei Hang has been doing an excellent job in instrumentation and application of mass spectrometry, in which I am very interested. I thought mass spectrometry is the most versatile tool to characterize various chemical compounds, and I wish to master the essence of it. Thirdly, the students in my group are very friendly and accommodating, and I had a great time working and exchanging thoughts with them. So I made my choice to study in Professor Wei Hang’s group in Xiamen University.

Can you explain a bit the purpose of your current research activities?

I’m currently doing simulation and theoretical work in laser ablation/ionization mass spectrometry. Laser ablation technique is well-known for its versatility and simplicity, but it suffers from matrix effect and elemental fractionation. In order to make the technique more applicable, it is imperative to study the fundamental mechanism of the whole laser ionization process and make refinements based on the factors that matter. This is the purpose of my research activities and I’m utilizing Chemometrics and physical simulations to achieve this goal. With chemometric tools, I can figure out and quantify the importance of the physical and chemical properties of the matrices in matrix effect/elemental fractionation through a mathematical point of view. Furthermore, by physical simulation, I can get insight into the detailed processes and check out which ones may give rise to these effects. Currently I’ve proved that the influence of laser pulse width on matrix effect is really a matter of thermal properties of matrices.

How is a typical day in your lab?

Unlike many other supervisors who have a stringent demand for students to arrive at Lab early, Prof. Wei Hang allow us to arrive at 9:00 a.m. and hence work with high efficiency and great energy. Usually I spend half an hour at the beginning of a day to plan the things I’m going to do. There are plenty of mass spectrometers in our group, which guarantees enough time for me to handle spectrometers. Samples have already been loaded into the ionization chamber the previous day at night, so then I would adjust the instrumental parameters, and analyze the samples. Our group goes to lunch together and shares experimental observations and ideas on the way to lunch. In the afternoon, I would process the data obtained in the morning and possibly redo the experiment if there is something wrong with the data. In the evening, I would clean the instrument, load new samples into it and take a brief overview of the work done during the day. After that, I would read some articles relevant to my research area or just something I’m interested in. This is a typical day in my lab.

What common activities are organized in your research group?

The most frequent activity is playing badminton. All our group members go to play it every Thursday night to exercise and relax. Regularly, we’ll have a big meal once or twice a month. Additionally, Professor Wei Hang would invite us all to dinner whenever a paper is published or a great deal of job has just been finished. When time is good, we would also go to KTV and sing the songs we love. Moreover, our group will go hiking at the end of each year to relax and enjoy the great scenery. When a student has just graduated, our group will have a short trip to another town to celebrate it. All these activities make me feel that our group is a big harmonious family which deserves fighting for it.

What app/programs do you typically use?

I use Microsoft Word most frequently to write articles, reports and so on. As to data processing, I prefer Origin for its great ability and diverse data-presenting choices, although I also use Microsoft Excel to do some simple data-manipulation. Labview is also a choice for data processing; what is more importantly, I also use it to make programs to control the instruments. In order to get more complicated contour plots, I use Surfer as well. And of course, I use Microsoft PPT to give presentations and report my experimental proceedings. As to my research area, I also use Matlab and FDTD solutions for simulation.

How do you search for scientific information? How do you manage your bibliography?

Most frequently, I use Google Scholar to search articles and other scientific information. SciFinder is another choice, but it takes more time. I manage my bibliography using Endnote software. I think it’s a very convenient tool to categorize and manage the numerous articles you’ve read.

What are your views on JAAS? Which type of articles do you prefer? Do you miss some content?

JAAS is one of the most outstanding journals in atomic spectroscopy. Although I haven’t published an article in JAAS, I’m sure I’m going to send a manuscript in the near future. I’ve read a great deal of JAAS articles dealing with laser ablation and laser ablation-ICP techniques. Moreover, I enjoy reading latest development in instrumentation in JAAS.

What do you like and dislike the most about your work?

I like the great opportunity to learn mass spectrometry, since there are plenty of mass spectrometers in the lab and I have the chance to learn every one of them. I like it when we’re allowed to dismantle a mass spectrometer and to learn the concrete configuration and instrumentation of it, which is undoubtedly a precious experience. I like my accommodating colleagues, the cooperative atmosphere here.

I dislike it when my experimental and simulation results didn’t come out right, when the instrument didn’t function well and when my paper was rejected.

What do you expect to be doing in 5 years time?

From now on, I will spend three years’ time to finish my PhD’s degree. After that, I guess I would either go abroad to get a post-doctoral position to continue my endeavor in atomic spectroscopy or work in some research institutions or companies.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not in the lab?

Outside my research area, I have plenty of hobbies. I like foreign literatures and movies, so I combine them into one activity: watching foreign movies and TV series. I learn English and Japanese this way. I like computer skills as well. Whenever a computer (either mine or my friends’) does not work out right, I will get very excited and try everything I can to solve the problem. Oh, and recently I’m falling in love with photography, since I want to record the beauty of life by myself.

Zhibin Yin in his lab in Xiamen

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

I think what inspired me to become a scientist is the life in my school, Xiamen University. I was still a know-nothing teenager and did not touch the fancy scientific world before I went to university. It was the scientific courses, my supervisor Prof. Wei Hang as well as colleagues that inspired me to step into the palace of science. It was an interesting and delightful moment every time I discussed the scientific issues with my colleagues in the lab, such as Weifeng Li, Shudi Zhang, Miaohong He, and Zhisen Liang. I always learn something new no matter who is the winner of the discussion. Additionally, my parents are also the persons who inspired me to become a scientist because they always gave me the freedom to choose what I really like.

Why did you choose your research group/University and what factors influenced your choice?

First of all, I chose Xiamen University as my undergraduate school because it is one of the most beautiful campus in China and it is close to my home. It may sound naive at first but it is true. However, I was attracted and impressed by the history, the culture, the academic atmosphere of this beautiful university. Moreover, the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, where I studied, is the best college in Xiamen University. So is the Analytical Chemistry group. I find out my enthusiasm for mass spectrometry in Prof. Wei Hang group. I like the instrumentation and application of MS very much. That is the reason why I choose to pursue for my PhD degree directly as soon as I got my bachelor degree in the same university, Xiamen University.

As for the choice of my research group, it can be attributed to the fact that I am crazy about Analytical Chemistry. When I was a second-grade undergraduate student, I got a project called “Seeding-Raising Funding”, which encourage undergraduate with curiosity to join the group of interest for scientific research. Compared to synthetic Chemistry, such as Inorganic or Organic Chemistry, I would prefer Analytical Chemistry. So I joined Prof. Wei Hang group, wich opened my academic road. It was the first time I got to know optical and mass spectrometry and I became crazier and crazier about them when I got this insight. The research group has provided me with the platform to learn and grow. I really cherish this hard-won opportunity. I would stick to my original choice if I were permitted to choose again. Another reason why I choose my research group is the colleagues in the lab. I am so happy to work with them during my PhD program.

Can you explain a bit the purpose of your current research activities?

I am engaged in the research and development of new analytical methods based on laser ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LI-TOFMS) and new MS instruments. In my last project, I focused in acquiring the information on metal/nonmetal elements, molecules, as well as molecular fragments of organometallic compounds simultaneously by high irradiance LI-TOFMS. In my view, this corresponds very well with the new JAAS scope, seeking for new sources that provide both atomic and molecular information. It is time-saving and easy-to-operate that acquiring the elemental, fragmental, and molecular information simultaneously by LI-MS.

In my current research, I will be active in the project devoted to focus the micron-sized spot to the nano-scale spot by laser irradiance. Lateral resolution in the laser-dependent technique is restricted to micron by the diffraction limit. However, there is an urgent need for developing a new analytical method that goes deep into nano-world. Hence, I try to introduce the near-field effect to LI-MS in order to obtain nano-scale resolution.

How is a typical day in your lab?

We do not follow the old saying that “The early bird gets the worm”, instead we go to the lab at about 9 o’clock a.m. Compared to getting up early, I prefer to do the research with efficiency. I always schedule my work every day on my way to the lab, and start to work quickly as soon as I arrive at the lab. Generally speaking, I will warm up the home-made laser ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (LI-TOFMS) laser, as well as the cooling water system and the oscilloscope. Data processing is right behind finishing experiments, in case more experiments needed to be supplemented. I think the happiest time in a day is the mealtime, because all of us in the lab can discuss the interesting experiment phenomena, and share what has happened all over the world.

In addition to daily experiments, I spend most of my time reading literature, thinking why he/she came up with this wonderful idea, and taking notes about the most innovative points at night. We will finish our typical day at about 10 o’clock p.m.

What common activities are organized in your research group?

Every Thursday afternoon is the most important time of the week for us. Group meeting will be held for discussing the results we have obtained and what bottlenecks have been encountered. Moreover, we can share the fantastic ideas of original papers. After group meeting finishes, all of us will play badminton in the evening. Moreover, our group will organize a short trip to another town for relaxing and sightseeing in the summer vacation.

What app/programs do you typically use?

In consideration with home-built LI-MS instruments, there are a lot of programs we should use. For example, LabVIEW 8.5 is used to control laser, high-voltage pulse train generator, and collect the data from a digital storage oscilloscope. Origin 8.5 is used for processing data and producing final mass spectra. I also use AutoCAD and Photoshop for editing graphics. Additionally, we will use Solidworks 2014 to build 3D MS instruments and SIMION 8.0 to simulate the ion trajectory in the electrostatic field of LI-TOFMS. Last but not least, we mostly use Microsoft Office, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint etc.

How do you search for scientific information? How do you manage your bibliography?

In Xiamen University, we can choose SciFinder Scholar or Web of Science for scientific information. However, I always use Google Scholar to find the literatures of interest for convenience. It is all-inclusive and easy to search that most of my colleagues use it.

For bibliography management, Endnote X7 is the apple of my eyes because it is highly compatible and easy to manage numerous literatures, as well as indispensable when preparing a manuscript.

What are your views on JAAS? Which type of articles do you prefer? Do you miss some content?

It is well-know that JAAS is at the forefront of analytical atomic spectrometry publishing. Because I am engaged in the field of laser and mass spectrometry, JAAS is one of the most important journals I follow. I will keep an eye on the up-to-date manuscripts, such as advance articles, and accepted manuscripts. Actually, I have registered as a member of RSC publishing and opened Email Alerts Service, so I am informed as soon as new issues of JAAS have been published. I have published a paper in JAAS, the comments from peer review process is very constructive and helpful. I always pay close attention to the field of laser and mass spectrometry, especially the new instrumental concepts and constructions. I hope JAAS can publish more themed collections about instrument development in near future.

What do you like and dislike the most about your work?

What I like the most about my work is that some inspirations come up to my brain when I read the literature. It is so exciting if I obtain the results just as I expected. Prof. Wei Hang always encourages us to disassemble the broken instruments and fix them up by ourselves. What I like most is to find what is wrong with an instrument and smoothly fix it.

What I dislike is the academic atmosphere in China, most of time we have to fight for the publishing numbers and high impact factor, the research innovation and significance are always ignored. Especially, many groups that are devoted to instrumental development can’t publish high impart factor papers, but they are very important.

What do you expect to be doing in 5 years time?

Because I needn’t go through the Master stage (from Bachelor degree to PhD degree directly), I have three years left before I can get my PhD degree. Right now, I can’t make up my mind about what exact career I will be engaged in. But definitely, I will be occupied in the laser-related or MS-related area. I like instrumental R&D a lot, especially MS instruments, so it is my Bible for the direction of future development. No matter what employment direction I choose, I will go abroad for further study as a post-doctoral fellow after I get my PhD degree. I think it is a great experience for expanding my horizons. What I should do in the remaining 3 years of PhD is working harder, learning more, and making good preparation for the future.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not in the lab?

Sometimes I will stay in the lab for experiments and reading literatures, or I will hang out with my best friends or colleagues on some weekends. I like reading, watching foreign movies, and communicating with people. If I have enough time, I will choose to travel for gaining experience. Because there is a common saying in Chinese that “Either travelling or reading, body and soul, there must be one on the road”. Having a good rest in my room is also a good choice to keep myself energetic for the work next week.

Thanks a lot to both of you for sharing your thoughts with us!

Have a look at Zhibin’s most recent article in JAAS:

Comprehensive analysis of metalloporphyrins via high irradiance laser ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Z. Yin, B. Sun, X. Wang, X. Cheng, W. Hang and B. Huang, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014, 29, 1714-1719.

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Gordon F. Kirkbright Bursary Award, 2016

Graphical Abstract

Gordon F. Kirkbright Bursary Award, 2016, now open for nominations

The Gordon F. Kirkbright bursary award is a prestigious annual award that enables a promising student/non-tenured young scientist of any nation to attend a recognised scientific meeting or visit a place of learning.
The fund for this bursary was established in 1985 as a memorial to Professor Gordon Kirkbright in recognition of his contributions to analytical spectroscopy and to science in general. Although the fund is administered by the Association of British Spectroscopists (ABS) Trust, the award is not restricted to spectroscopists.

Applications are invited for the 2016 Gordon Kirkbright Bursary.

For further information contact John Chalmers at, email: vibspecconsult@aol.com

The closing date for entries is 31 December 2015.

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Getting closer to secrets on the seabed

Graphical Abstract

Researchers from Spain have engineered a laser spectrometer to analyse solids underwater that they hope to eventually develop for deep sea research.1

Stand-off laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (ST-LIBS) is a technique to identify the elemental composition of solids at a distance, enabling safe analysis of explosive, radioactive or toxic compounds.2 While this technique is well-developed and widely used in air – Javier Laserna and coworkers at the University of Malaga built a ST-LIBS system able to differentiate between common explosives and contaminants such as hand cream or motor oil3 – there is no current technology to apply it underwater.

Read the full article over at Chemistry World >>


A study of underwater stand-off laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for chemical analysis of objects in the deep ocean
F. J. Fortes, S. Guirado, A. Metzinger and J. J. Laserna
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2015, 30, 1050-1056
DOI: 10.1039/C4JA00489B, Paper

Do you fancy submitting an article to JAAS? Why not submit to us here today or alternatively email us with your suggestions!

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JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship awardees

We are delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship. Launched to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the journal, the lectureship will be awarded annually from 2015 to recognise and support an emerging scientist working in the area of atomic spectrometry in the early stages of their independent career.

With so many exceptional and highly deserving nominations, it was decided to award the JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship to two winners this year.

Congralutaions to Gerardo Gamez (Texas Tech University) and Lara Lobo Revilla (University of Oviedo)!

Introducing Lara Lobo Revilla:

Lara Lobo Revilla

Lara Lobo Revilla

Lara Lobo Revilla is a “Marie Curie Clarin-Cofund” postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oviedo since October 2014. She studied Chemistry at the University of Oviedo, where she also started her PhD in 2006 working on a European project aimed at the instrumental development and analytical applications of a prototype based on Glow Discharge-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry. Under the supervision of Prof. Rosario Pereiro and Dr. Nerea Bordel, she obtained her PhD degree in 2011 and was given the Extraordinary Doctorate Award (Physical and Analytical Chemistry). After she finished her PhD she got an IEF Marie-Curie Fellowship and joined the A&MS group of Prof. Frank Vanhaecke in the Analytical Chemistry Department at Ghent University (Belgium). Her research for about 3 years at UGent has mainly dealt with isotopic analysis for provenancing ancient glass. Currently, she is involved in the development of analytical methods to obtain elemental, molecular and isotopic information based on the use of different analytical mass spectrometry techniques.

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Introducing Gerardo Gamez:

Gerardo Gamez

Gerardo Gamez obtained his B.Sc., summa cum laude, and M.S. in Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso where he performed research with Prof. Gardea-Torresdey in environmental chemistry. He obtained his PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Indiana University-Bloomington with Prof. Hieftje where he performed research in plasma-based analytical spectrochemistry. During this time he obtained fellowships from the ACS-DAC and MERC, as well as the first Richard Payling Award. His postdoctoral work at ETH Zurich with Prof. Zenobi was in the area of ambient molecular MS. He then worked as a Scientist at EMPA Thun in the field of materials characterization by atomic spectroscopy. In the fall of 2013 he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas Tech University. His research group focuses on instrumentation and method development of high-throughput chemical imaging techniques via GDOES elemental mapping, ambient desorption/ionization MS sources, as well as performing fundamental studies to better understand laboratory plasmas. He has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications (h-index 24), and given more than 30 oral presentations (including 15 invited lectures). He has also served as president of the Indiana Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, coordinator of an EC Marie Curie Research Training Network (GLADNET, 16 partners, 11 countries), co-organizer of the 1st International Symposium on Glow Discharge Spectroscopy, and chair of the Atomic Spectroscopy section of the SCIX conference.

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The Next Generation- An Interview with Flávio V. Nakadi

Today we interview a truly exceptional young PhD student, a true expert in various ancient arts (e.g., origami and brewing beer), Flávio Venâncio Nakadi, a PhD student at the Universidade de São Paulo, working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Márcia A.M.S. da Veiga.


Flávio in his lab in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Q: Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

A: I believe the first time I said “I want to be a scientist” I was 7 years old. I was always curious about how everything works: from nature to technology. I used to watch a TV show called “Beakman’s World”, which showed many chemical and physical phenomena and explained them in an easy way that a child could “comprehend”. It fascinated me! Later, my mother gave me a chemistry kit when I was 10 years old, which was the first step into my career.

During Analytical Chemistry classes, after my first contact with equipment, in particular spectrometers, I knew that I would study in this area. I had the opportunity to begin my master’s degree with my supervisor, Prof. Dr. da Veiga with atomic absorption spectrometry and, since 2009, I am working in AAS.

Q: Why did you choose your research group/University and what factors influenced your choice?

A: The University of São Paulo is one of the best Universities in Latin America; therefore, the choice was natural. However, I chose it because it is located in the city where I live. When I started my studies in Chemistry, I knew I made the right choice. Before working with atomic spectrometry, I tried electrochemistry and inorganic chemistry. Both areas were great, but they were not exactly what I was looking for. I realized what I wanted to do during analytical chemistry classes: to work with analytical instruments. Prof. Dr. da Veiga was new in our department and the only researcher who worked with elemental analysis (AAS). I could work with her and see her laboratory and research group grow, and I am very grateful that I could share this experience with all of them.

Q: Can you explain a bit the purpose of your current research activities?

A: High-resolution continuum source molecular absorption spectrometry (HR CS MAS) is a technique that still shows new possibilities for elemental analysis. The determination of non-metals by monitoring the absorbance of diatomic molecules with an AAS instrument has brought new possibilities to the field. I have studied mainly the determination of sulfur via CS molecule in coal and diesel samples, the latter as direct analysis with Pd nanoparticles as chemical modifier.

Furrthermore, a new methodology that I have developed in the lab of Prof. Dr. Resano has enabled isotopic analysis with HR CS MAS. There is always a wavelength shift between the atomic lines of different isotopes, but it is generally too small for detection (less than 1 pm). However, diatomic molecules show larger isotopic shifts due to vibrational transitions, enough to be detected by a high-resolution spectrometer. In this way, it was possible to evaluate the chlorine isotopes as Al35Cl and Al37Cl with HR CS MAS.

Q: How is a typical day in your lab?

A: The first “experiment” of the day is coffee brewing. I usually organize everything that I need one day after, because we have two spectrometers for 10 people. When I use the instrument, I begin at 8 a.m. and there is no limit to end: sometimes at 5 p.m., sometimes at 10 p.m. I collect my data and process it the next day. We generally have lunch around 12 p.m. and use our free time to talk about everything, mostly nonsense subjects. Occasionally, I am responsible to do the maintenance of the spectrometers. Once in a month, we discuss our results with our supervisor.

Q: What common activities are organized in your research group?

A: We organize birthday parties in our laboratory, with junk food, soda, beer, and a cake. There are two barbecues each year: at the end of the year and at our supervisor birthday. We go out when someone publishes a paper, and the first author decide where the celebration is going to take place. In my case, always a bar.

Q: What app/programs do you typically use?

A: I usually write with Microsoft Word, although I also use LaTeX for some academic purposes. I like Microsoft Excel for data evaluation and/or processing, but Origin is my main choice for plotting graphs and spectra. Finally, but no less important, I use Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations.

Q: How do you search for scientific information? How do you manage your bibliography?

A: I search in Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, and Google Scholar. Sometimes I look directly in the journal sites, such as JAAS. I prefer to organize my bibliography in my computer folders, although I am beginning to use Mendeley to help me.

Q: What are your views on JAAS? Which type of articles do you prefer? Do you miss some content?

A: I have learned with Dr. da Veiga that JAAS is our first option for publication in atomic spectrometry. I always find interesting papers about this field, where my preferred ones are AAS and ICP techniques. I really like JAAS reviews, which are complete and straightforward to the subject.

Q: What do you like and dislike the most about your work?

A: I love working with analytical equipment and understanding their components. I want to know what they really can do and explore all the possibilities. It is funny because we usually do not have all the tools required; therefore, this topic is barely an option! I like my research group, in which I can talk about academic issues as well as tell jokes. I believe good relations are key to move the research forward. Finally, I enjoy when there are problems to be fixed, because I always learn something new while I try to fix them. However, I do not like them when they appear at 7 p.m. I feel disappointed when I work with people that does not want to learn.

Q: What do you expect to be doing in 5 years time?

A: That is a difficult question! I do not usually think too much in the future, because it is unpredictable. Generally, I prefer to stay focused on the present time and then I see which doors will be open. Although there are possibilities in large companies, I prefer academic research. Therefore, I would like to be a university researcher.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not in the lab?

A: Everything related to beer, from brewing to drinking it. I have to learn much more about this beautiful and elegant beverage, therefore I am always trying to read about it or talk with people who knows this art. Origami (paper folding) has a special place in my hobbies, although I would like to practice it more than I usually do. I also like videogames and TV shows.

Surely, Breaking Bad. Thanks a lot, Flávio!

Have a look at Flávio recent articles in JAAS:

Chlorine isotope determination via the monitoring of the AlCl molecule by high-resolution continuum source graphite furnace molecular absorption spectrometry–a case study

FV Nakadi, M da Veiga, M Aramendía, E García-Ruiz, M Resano

Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2015, Advance article

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