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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JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship winners announced

JAAS, 2014, Issue 1We 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)!

Lectureship award details

As a winner of the lectureship, both Gerardo and Lara will be able to present their research at a relevant high-profile international meeting and receive a contribution of up to £1000 each to cover associated travel and accommodation costs. They will be awarded a certificate and invited to contribute a paper to JAAS.

You can read more about eligibility and the selection process in the call for nominations post.

We will be posting more information about our winners soon!

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Join up with JAAS at the 6th Asia-Pacific Winter Conference in Xiamen, China

Will you be joining us in Xiamen later this month?

If so, on behalf of the organisers and JAAS Editorial Board, we would like to invite you to submit an article for a themed issue in JAAS, on your work presented at the conference.

The submission deadline for the issue will be 15th July 2015. Accepted papers will be published online as advanced articles as soon as they are ready. The issue will be published online and in print in early 2016. All authors will receive a PDF of their article and a print copy of this issue when it is published. There will be no upper limit on the number of papers published in the themed issue.

We welcome the submission of communications, full papers and technical notes for consideration in the issue, and all articles will be subject to the usual high standards of the journal through peer-review. If you are interested in writing a review article for the issue, then please do not hesitate to contact me by email. We will also have a JAAS 30th Anniversary Event on the Friday night, so please do come and speak to me!

Articles should be submitted through the JAAS website, and we kindly ask all authors to indicate in their covering letter that their article is for consideration in the APWC 2015 issue. Further details about what we have to look forward to can be found on the conference website.

2015 Asia-Pacific Winter Conference (2015 APWC), Xiamen, China
May 19-22, 2015

Take a look at some of the papers published in the themed issue from the 2012 Asia Pacific Winter Conference, held in Jeju Island, South Korea

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The 6th Asia-Pacific Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry

Graphical abstract

“to bring together spectroscopists on a worldwide scale to stimulate contacts and exchange of experiences.”

Dates for your diary

Abstract Submission deadline: September 1st 2015

Early-Bird Registration Deadline: March 15th 2015

Conference Registration Date: May 19th 2015

Conference Dates: May 20th-22nd 2015

For more information please visit the conference website

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Anakon 2015 and Awards to JAAS Board Members

The ANAKON, a joint conference of German-speaking analytical chemists, organized by the German Chemical Society (GDCh) took place in Graz, Austria, from March 23 to March 26, 2015.

JAAS Editorial Board Member and Online Community Editor Professor Martín Resano (University of Zaragoza), was awarded the prestigious Bunsen-Kirchhoff Preiss for Analytical Spectroscopy for his work on the development of atomic spectrometric techniques.

In addition, during the opening session, JAAS Advisory Board member Professor Detlef Günther (ETH Zürich) was awarded with the Emich Badge (Emich-Plakette) of the ASAC, for merits in micro-and analytical chemistry and his research on LA-ICP-MS.

Well done Martín and Detlef, congratulations on your awards!

An image showing Professor Martín Resano being awarded the Bunsen-Kirchhoff Preiss

Professor Detlef Günther being awarded with the Emich Badge

Professor Martín Resano being awarded the Bunsen-Kirchhoff Preiss Professor Detlef Günther being awarded with the Emich Badge

You can read some of the award winner’s papers below, which are free to access for the next few weeks.

Direct analysis of dried blood spots by femtosecond-laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Feasibility of split-flow laser ablation for simultaneous trace element and isotopic analysis
M. Aramendía, L. Rello, S. Bérail, A. Donnard, C. Pécheyran and M. Resano
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2015, 30, 296-309

Variable aperture extraction lens for ion beam investigation in inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
Niko Kivel, Heiko-Dirk Potthast, Ines Günther-Leopold, Frank Vanhaecke and Detlef Günther
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2015, Advance Article

High-resolution continuum source graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry for direct analysis of solid samples and complex materials: a tutorial review
Martín Resano, Maite Aramendía and Miguel A. Belarra
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014, 29, 2229-2250

An internal standardisation strategy for quantitative immunoassay tissue imaging using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
Daniel A. Frick, Charlotte Giesen, Teresa Hemmerle, Bernd Bodenmiller and Detlef Günther
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2015, 30, 254-259

Simultaneous determination of Co, Fe, Ni and Pb in carbon nanotubes by means of solid sampling high-resolution continuum source graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry
Martín Resano, Eduardo Bolea-Fernández, Engracia Mozas, María R. Flórez, Patricia Grinberg and Ralph E. Sturgeon
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013, 28, 657-665

Comparison of 795 nm and 265 nm femtosecond and 193 nm nanosecond laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for the quantitative multi-element analysis of glass materials
Masaki Ohata, Daniel Tabersky, Reto Glaus, Joachim Koch, Bodo Hattendorf and Detlef Günther
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014, 29, 1345-1353

Direct determination of Cu isotope ratios in dried urine spots by means of fs-LA-MC-ICPMS. Potential to diagnose Wilson’s disease
Martín Resano, Maite Aramendía, Luis Rello, Mª Luisa Calvo, Sylvain Bérail and Christophe Pécheyran
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013, 28, 98-106

Development and characterization of custom-engineered and compacted nanoparticles as calibration materials for quantification using LA-ICP-MS
Daniel Tabersky, Norman A. Luechinger, Michael Rossier, Eric Reusser, Kathrin Hametner, Beat Aeschlimann, Daniel A. Frick, Samuel C. Halim, Jay Thompson, Leonid Danyushevsky and Detlef Günther
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014, 29, 955-962

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European Workshop on Laser Ablation 2016

Graphical Abstract

European Workshop on Laser Ablation 2016
12 – 15 July 2016
Ljubljana, Slovenia


Registration will open in early 2016!
Early registration deadline (discounted rate) – 20th May 2016

The Registration Fee for participants and students includes:

Entrance to the scientific session
Certificate of attendance
Congress folders, badge, Final Programme and Book of Abstracts
Coffee breaks
Lunches on Wednesday, July 13, Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15
Icebreaker Reception on Tuesday, July 12
Afternoon Social Programme on Wednesday, July 13
Gala Dinner on Thursday, July 14

For more information about the conference, please see the webiste

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2015 European Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry – Poster Prize Winners

Graphical Abstract


Poster Prize Winners

1. Monika Winkler, TU Graz, Münzgrabenstraße, Graz, 8010, Austria
“Listen to your RF generator – On the seeming carbon-induced enhancement of elements like arsenic and selenium in inductively coupled plasmas”


2. Andreas Zitek,
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, BOKU Vienna, Department of Chemistry, Division of Analytical Chemistry, VIRIS Lab, Konrad-Lorenz-Straße 24, Vienna, 3430, Austria
“Improving the spatial analysis and interpretation of LA-ICP-MS data by the application of GIS methods – considerations on achievable spatial resolution, uncertainties and multilayer interpretation”


3. Karen Murphy,
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Chemical Sciences Division, Material Measurement Laboratory, 100 Bureau Drive Stop 8391, Gaithersburg, 20899, United States
“Validation of Single Particle (sp)ICP-MS for Measurements of Nanoparticle Size and Evaluation of its Potential to Assess the Influence of the Coating on the Stability of Gold Nanoparticles in Suspension”


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The Next Generation- An Interview with David Douglas

Today we interview, Dr. David Douglas, a post-doc at LGC Limited, currently working in the group of Dr. Heidi Goenaga-Infante.


David in his lab

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

From an early age I was fascinated by how the world around me worked and would often take things apart to understand the processes that culminated in an output or action. I received a microscope one Christmas from my parents, which populated more questions than it answered and fueled my need to improve my understanding. Two inspirational Chemistry teachers, Mr Gordon Waston-Broughton and Mr Tim Rutherford, kept this need burning and encouraged me to study Chemistry at Plymouth University. That is where my first research project began under the keen eyes of Dr Michael Foulkes and Dr Andrew Fisher. I enjoyed research so much I decided I had to attempt a PhD. I was lucky enough that such a position had become available in Prof. Barry Sharp and Dr Helen Reid’s group at Loughborough University, where I once again began to deconstruct things to understand how they worked. By sharing in the passion these people have for science, I have been inspired to follow it as a career and a hobby.

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

I currently work within the Inorganic Research Team of the Science and Innovation section at LGC Ltd, under the watchful eyes of Heidi Goenaga-Infante. My first experience of the group was through a joint Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with Loughborough University focusing on improving metrological bio-imaging by LA-ICP-MS.

LGC is a commercial entity that is home to the UK’s designated National Measurement Institute (NMI) for Chemical and Biological Measurement. As such employees are exposed to a large range of research topics; ranging from large European funded measurement projects (EMPIR) and international comparison studies (CCQM), to the smaller commercial external and internal projects. During my KTP I was exposed to the plethora of instrumentation and collaboration at LGC and the potential for metrological research in solid sample analysis. This combined with the range of applications drew me to my current position.

Another big part of why I chose LGC was down to the group of people I work with. They come from a range of cultural backgrounds and scientific experiences; in an environment where scientific discussion is encouraged, this makes for some motivating and inspiring ideas. Without their support my job would be impossible.

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

My current research activities focus on improving metrology of LA-ICP-MS analysis and the traceability of these measurements.

I am currently working with my colleagues on the development of new calibration strategies to determine localised metal concentrations in tissues; a topic that has received a lot of interest in the research community and something of a personal interest. We are focusing on improving the uncertainty associated with these measurements and thus enhance spatial discrimination of analyte concentration. This is important for applications such as the investigation of iron’s association with Alzheimer’s disease and for tracking of localised cancer treatments.

I am exposed to a diverse range of applications and new projects we are about to undertake include feasibility studies of LA-ICP-MS sampling for complex matrices, and the development of rapid and robust screening methods for health. Each new area brings new challenges to develop robust and traceable measurement methods and are driven by industry needs.

How is a typical day in your lab?

For an experimental day I tend to begin by configuring our LA-ICP-MS instrumentation (NWR213 coupled to either our Element 2, 8800 or one of our 7700s) for the particular application being run that week e.g. wet plasma, online addition etc. I switch all the instruments on and let them settle for an hour. This gives me enough time to head to the office and grab a cup of coffee and sort through a mountain of e-mails. I’ll then setup the experiment for the day.

I spend a considerable amount of time in the office working on data reduction and interpretation of the results from the experiments. This work is often broken up by some of my other requirements of laboratory organization, project planning and instrumentation acquisition. I also have many opportunities to discuss other project topics and science with my colleagues.

What common activities are organized in your research group?

Many people from the Inorganic, Organic and Purity teams will take coffee at 10:00 and 15:00. Almost all of the section will attend this event at 10:00 on a Friday. This is our unofficial cake day, where one member of the section is volunteered each week to bake a treat of their choice. A more complicated rule also exists in that if the pay day for that month is a Friday then we head out for lunch to enjoy an ‘Open Burger’ from the local pub. A small group of us also head to the pub on a Friday evening.

Inorganic team meetings are a monthly occurrence and are used to discuss company business, conferences, papers, projects and laboratory issues. We also have a presentation from one member of the group on their research, work or a new piece of instrumentation they are using. We also attend monthly science meetings for the section (comprised of Inorganic, Organic, Purity and Reference Materials) where two presentations are given from any team. Annually we have a Science and Social day dedicated to improving divisional communication and understanding. This brings together the Science and Innovation division under the Government Chemist.

What app/programs do you typically use?

I regularly use the Microsoft Office suite of programs, such as Excel and Word; I am also a keen user of Visio to create diagrams for papers, presentations or patents.

LGC has begun to adopt OneNote as a means to compliment the conventional lab book; with talk of trialing tablets in the lab to replace lab books completely. The suitability of this program for sharing of information has really shone through when multiple people are collaborating on the same project.

I use Igor Pro, and the add-in Iolite, to reduce my LA data. I find the graphical interface, and identification of transient data as a wave useful in processing. The support from the developers and community is fantastic; they are patient and efficient in helping those with limited coding experience like me. Images can be generated easily using Iolite from ICP data and laser log files.

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

I often use Google Scholar and ScienceDirect when searching for information. I also use RSS feeds to keep me updated on highlighted releases from the major journals in my field.

I download papers and arrange them into folders with descriptive headings; sub-folders are used to provide further description. Information is collated using the reference manager Mendeley (freeware). As the program is free I can continue to use it if I move from one institute to another, and the annotation/key word functions are useful.

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

JAAS is one of the important journals in my field of research. I have published in JAAS and found the process intuitive; whilst the peer review process provides vital constructive comments.

I enjoy the diversity of the articles published in JAAS, and particularly enjoy those that discuss new instrumental developments.

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

There are many aspects of my job that I like, however the one that ranks highest for me is the group of people I get to work with. The cultural diversity makes for a good social environment but their scientific expertise makes for a great learning environment.

As this is a commercial environment we are limited by the time we can dedicate to certain activities, meaning that I cannot spend a day or two investigating something strange I have observed, no matter how much I want to. However this does mean that I need to plan my work carefully and ensure maximum ulitlisation/efficiency.

I particularly enjoy the wide range of instrumentation that I have access to, whether this is on site or through collaboration with other institutes and universities.

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

I would be happy to remain in my current employment as I can see many emerging opportunities within LGC. I also enjoy the projects and work that LGC undertake and feel that I can drive the solid sampling capability into new and interesting areas, whilst obtaining a vast amount of experience.

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

I have many hobbies outside of my research and work; I believe it is important to keep the mind and body active with a variety of pastimes. When the weather is good I enjoy fishing, walking and photography and for when it is not so good (a common situation in UK) I have taken up woodworking. This has given me the pleasure of building toys and decorations for our first child.

Thanks a lot, David! Have a look at some recent work published by David in JAAS

Jennifer O’Reilly, David Douglas, Julian Braybrook, P.-W. So, Eva Vergucht, Jan Garrevoet, Bart Vekemans, Laszlo Vincze and Heidi Goenaga-Infante
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014,29, 1378-1384
DOI: 10.1039/C4JA00002A, Paper
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European Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry 2015 Plasma Award

JAAS Advisory Board member Jörg Feldmann, from the University of Aberdeen, received last week in Münster the 2015 European Award for Plasma Spectrochemistry. The laureate presented his excellent work on identification and quantification of organoarsenic species. Congratulations, Jörg!

Prof. Feldmann in Münster after his Award presentation

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International Symposium on Laser Spectroscopy and Spectral Analysis

The ‘‘International Symposium on Laser Spectroscopy and Spectral Analysis”(ISLSSA)has been held on December 20th-21st 2014 at  Pengzhou, Chengdu, China. ISLSSA was hosted by China Instrument and Control Society and jointly organized by Sichuan University and Pengzhou Municipal Government. There were over 140 delegates joining this conference, who come from America, Spain, Korea, France and China, amounting to more than 30 institutions.

The opening ceremony was hosted by Professor Yixiang Duan, the director of Research Center of Analytical Instrumentation, Sichuan University, China. The secretary general of China Instrument and Control Society, Mr. Xianfeng Zhu; the chairman of China Instrument and Control Society, Near Infrared Spectroscopy Division, Mr. Hongfu Yuan; and the Dean of college of Life Science, Sichuan University, Prof. Zhixiong Xiao were invited as special guests and made their opening speeches.

This international conference was carried out around the topics of laser atomic and molecular spectral analysis technologies, the combination of different laser based technologies, and the hardware designing technology for laser based instrumental systems. Many excellent reports were presented by national and international experts.

The two-day conference included invited talks, academic posters and equipment exhibitions. This international conference was designed to provide a unique platform for exchanging and discussing the advanced technologies in laser spectroscopy, thus jointly promoting the development and progress of laser spectroscopy techniques. Quantitative analysis of fluorite ores, online monitoring for industrial emissions, resources exploration and applications in atmospheric chemistry with laser spectroscopy were discussed in the conference. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology for in-situ and remote analysis of molten metals, for quantitative analysis of viscous liquids, as well as data processing methods with chemometrics for LIBS were also presented in this conference. The conference had a very good academic atmosphere, and delegates took active part in idea exchanges and discussions. With the joint efforts of all participants, this international conference was considerably successful.

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