Centre of Advanced Separation Techniques

The Center for Advanced Separation Techniques (CPST) are detached laboratories of Faculty of Environment in the UniCRE building near of campus area. The CPST main research and service activities include the development of new analytical methods with the special focus on characterization and identification of unknown substances in products from advanced chemi-cal technologies for transformation of waste to “green chemicals”. Furthermore, CPST pro-vides the analysis of samples from the environment and technological processes, preparation and testing of new special sorbents for environmental applications.
CPST’s most sophisticated instrumentation for analysis of complex organic mixtures includes a two-dimensional gas chromatography system combined with an Agilent high-resolution mass spectrometer (HRMS) with an electron impact allowing low-energy ionization of molecules for confirmation of identification and molecular formula.

Another modern and advanced analytical system in CPST laboratories is the Bruker compact high-resolution mass spectrometer, which can be combined with both gas and liquid chromatography. In addition, the system is equipped with a module for direct sample input. (LC/GC HRMS qTOF Bruker Compact). For less demanding targeted analyzes of known substances CPST applies HPLC/DAD Merck Hitachi, thin layer chromatography (TLC) with MS interface Camag or Agilent GC-MS system with a single quadrupole equipped with autosampler enabling not only liquid but also headspace and SPME sample injection. GC-FID Dani system is used mainly for determination of hydrocarbon oil index. ICP-OES and ICP-MS serve for analysis of elements. There are several devices for sample preparation in CPST including, microwave digestion MARS instrument, analytical and infrared balances KERN for dry matter determination, Memmert dryer, rotary evaporators, Kuderna-Danish concentrator, Retsch sieve, distillation apparatus, vacuum pumps and solid phase extraction manifolds. In addition, CPST has to its disposal a technological laboratory for mechanical operations (sieving, preparation of a larger amount of sample or new sorbents in the order of kilograms).

The main areas of CPST research include complex analyzes of environmental and technological samples (qualitative and quantitative analysis of pyrolysis products (liquid, solid and gaseous), determination of Hydrocarbon Oil Index, PAHs, organic acids in various matrices), study of sorption or degradation efficiencies and kinetics of pesticides, BTEX on synthesized special sorbents, monitoring of EDTA in industrial wastewater by GC-MS or HPLC-DAD. In the field of microbiology, indicator phospholipids from cell membranes can be determined by GC-MS. CPST also has considerable “know-how” in the preparation of humic substances and their salts for environmental and veterinary applications. Using ICP-OES or ICP-MS, the concentrations of elements in water, plant matter, soils or ICP measurement results are used for sorption isothermal modeling, for example to remove heavy metals from water. As part of contractual research, CPST carries out measurements in cooperation with regional companies such as UniCRE a.s., Spolchemie a.s., Mondi Štětí a.s., Unipetrol RPA, s.r.o. etc.

Overview of analyzes
Organic analysis
•   GC identification and quantification of the main components in pyrolysis oils (identification by exact mass, comparison of spectra with the NIST library, retention indices,  quantification by FID and MS)
•   GC qualitative analysis of the pyrolysis gas fraction
•   GC determination of Hydrocarbon Oil Index
•   GC quantification of selected PAHs in soil, water and pyrolysis products (solid and liquid fraction)
•   GC qualitative determination of VOCs by headspace method
•   GC quantitative analysis of chlorinated substances (DCE, CB)
•   GC qualitative and quantitative determination of organic acids in aqueous matrices and pyrolysis products
•   GC quantification of PLFA in soil
•   LC quantitative determination of EDTA
•   LC qualitative analysis of ESI/APCI hi-res qTOF MS
•   Characterization of pure substances by hi-res qTOF MS equipped with direct probe modul

Anorganic analysis
•   Microwave digestion for the determination of metals in solid matrices, eg in soils and plant material
•   Qualitative and quantitative analysis of elements by ICP-OES, ICP-MS
•   Determination of pH in various matrices

Fig 1: Liquid chromatography with diode array detektor (HPLC/DAD Merck Hitachi)

Fig 2: Hi-res MS qTOF Bruker Compaq coupled with gas and liquid chromatography or direct probe modul

Fig 3: Multidimensional gas chromatography with hi-res mass spectrometry (GCxGC-qTOF-MS/FID Agilent)

Fig 4: GC-FID Dani for determination of Hydrocarbon Oil Index

Fig 5: GC-MS Agilent with a simple quadrupole equipped with autosampler enabling liquid, headspace and SPME sample injection

Fig 6: Thin layer chromatography (TLC) with MS interface Camag

Fig 7: Microwave oven MARS

Fig 8: ICP-OES, Perkin Elmer for analysis of elements