Kirchsteiger’s research stay

The research group of atmospheric physics and chemistry located at the Institute of Marine and Atmospheric research (IMAU) at Utrecht University are experts focusing on changes in the atmospheres’ chemical composition caused by anthropogenic emissions. Prof. Rupert Holzinger and Dr. Dušan Materič developed novel techniques using an ultra-sensitive method based on proton-transfer reaction time of flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). This analytical method has been developed in recent years and is, among others, used for the quantification of organic compounds and nanoplastics in different environmentally important matrices.

During her research stay Bernadette Kirchsteiger worked on a novel method using the PTR-ToF-MS system in order to quantify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in snow and cloud water samples. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are toxic and carcinogenic substances which are generated during incomplete combustion processes mainly emitted by anthropogenic activities such as residential heating. The quantification of PAHs in cloud water samples breaks the way to identify the degradation of these key analytes, their transport into aqueous systems and their interaction with other emerging pollutants such as micro- and nanoplastics during atmospheric transport. Results are going to be published in international scientific journals and parts of them have already been presented at the Young Analytical Chemists Forum in 2022.


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