Chemical Analysis Lab
IMDEA Water has a specialized unit for the analysis of micronanoplastic particles environmental in samples. For this it has specific techniques: Pyrolysis system coupled to Gas Chromagraphy-Mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS); FT-IR Microscopic Based Imaging System coupled to RAMAN (μFTIR-Raman); and field-flow fractionation system coupled to ultraviolet/refractive index detector with dynamic light scattering (FFF-UV/IR-DLS).
The equipments μFTIR-Raman and FFF-UV/IR-DLS were purchased thanks to the grant EQC2021-007037-P funded by:
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
The analytical technique with the greatest potential for determination of trace level elements in all types of matrices. It is usually necessary to perform a sample digestion. The liquid sample is introduced through a misting system and transformed into a fine spray which is directed towards the torch where a plasma is generated, whose temperature can reach up to 10,000 K, by submitting a flow of argon gas to the action of an oscillating magnetic field induced by a high frequency current. The sample is subjected to various processes (desolvation, vaporisation, atomisation and ionisation). The ions generated pass into the mass spectrometer through a conditioning interface, where they are focused and aimed towards the analyser, usually quadrupole type, where they are separated according to their mass/charge ratio (m/z).
- The majority of elements in the periodic table can be analysed using this technique
- Semi-quantitative multi-element analysis To determine the major and minor elements in a sample. Allows semi-quantitative determinations of elements for which there is no commercial standard with an error lower than 15%
- Quantitative analysis of elements of interest Linear dynamic range of 8 orders of magnitude (ng/L (ppt) – mg/L (ppm) and low detection limits (ng/L (ppt) for most elements
- Gauging the isotopic ratios of an element
- Analysis of small sampling volumes (< 600 uL)
- Analysing solid biological, organic and inorganic samples by acid digestion and microwave treatments
- Environmental applications (waters, soils, sediments and residues)
- Determining metals and possible contaminants in soils (fertilisers) and inland drinking waters (dumping)
- Speciation of metals in complex matrices
- Quantification of inorganic nanoparticles
Mass Spectrometry Unit
Mass Spectrometry (MS) is a highly sensitive instrumental analytical technique able to quali- and quantitatively assess all types of mixtures of substances. In addition, this technique also determines the molecular mass of a compound, as well at the different fragments resulting from controlled break-up of the same, providing highly valuable information on the molecular structure. Mass Spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique based on the different behaviours of the ions formed by different ionisation techniques when passing through electrical and magnetic fields. The ions are separated according to their mass/charge (m/z) ratio and detected. The great advantage of high-resolution mass spectrometry compared to low resolution is the greater precision and accuracy of the mass, due to the more high-performance features of the time of flight-quadrupole analysers (TOF and QTOF). These allow unequivocal identification of the exact mass of a compound.
The laboratory analyses the different types of organic/inorganic contaminants in line with current regulations on maximum residue limits. The following features are highlighted:
- Analysis of organic micropollutants in waters by GC-MS/MS (organochlorine and organophosphorus pesticides, trihalomethanes, polyaromatic hydrocarbons) by means of LC-MS(TOF) y LC-MS/MS(QTOF) (drug and multi-residue).
- Determination of impurities in pesticide products.
- Assays to determine exact mass and fragmentation studies.
- Identifying compounds, or fragments of the same, by their mass spectrum in comparison with GC-MS libraries.
New analytical methods are constantly being developed to adapt to the new requirements laid down in current legislation on monitoring water quality and control parameters.
Basic Analysis Unit
In this unit we analyse several physical and chemical parameters laid down in the regulations on control of water quality and dumping.
- Organoleptic assays: Colour and turbidity
- Physical-chemical testing: Basic parameters such as pH, conductivity, temperature, redox potential, TKN (Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen), total phosphorus, free and total chlorine, alkalinity, suspended solids (TSS), total organic carbon (TOC), DBO 5, DQO, total nitrogen, etc.
Water Laboratory of IMDEA Water belongs since 2009 to the Network of Laboratories of the Community of Madrid with the reference number 267.
The scientific responsible for the laboratory is Dr. Leonor Nozal Martínez and the technical staff that carries out the tests can be consulted here.