University Laboratory for Environmental Nanotechnology (LUNA)

The University Laboratory for Environmental Nanotechnology (LUNA) offers the following services:
  • Development of analytical techniques based on gas chromatography with mass detection for the determination and quantification of a large group of organic compounds in liquid and solid samples, both environmental and biological. The detection limits of the method can be as low as ng/L or pg/L. The analytical techniques developed can be used for cases such as the following:
  • Determination of degradation kinetics of target organic compounds in catalytic and photocatalytic processes, as well as in processes of removal of contaminants in water or soil.
  • Monitoring studies of organic pollutants in water, soil, sediments, dust, plants, tissues, body fluids and solid materials.
  • Determination and quantification of intermediates or by-products in catalytic and photocatalytic reactions. Elucidation of chemical structure of intermediates using the analysis by triple quadrupole.
  • Kinetics of apparition/disappearance of intermediates or degradation by-products in a process of removal (catalytic or non-catalytic) of organic compounds in water. Determination of the production of a chemical compound in catalytic and photocatalytic reactions of fine chemistry.
  • Because of the high selectivity of the triple quadrupole, it is possible to carry out differential analysis of isomers of the same organic compound.
  • Determination of the different forms of carbon (organic and inorganic) and nitrogen in liquid samples. This analysis is useful for:
    • Determination of kinetics and rates of mineralization of organic compounds in catalytic and non-catalytic processes of water treatment.
    • Monitoring of carbon (organic and inorganic) and dissolved nitrogen in water samples for the evaluation of their quality.
  • Determination of the different forms of carbon (organic and inorganic) in solid samples. This analysis is useful for:
    • Determining the purity of a solid material.
    • Studies of the quality of soils in terms of their content of organic matter.
    • Characterization of high purity solid materials used in industrial or environmental processes.
  • Development of methodologies for the extraction of organic components in solid matrices such as soil, sediments, ceramics, plants, tissues and other solids. The characteristics of the accelerated extraction method with solvents are listed below:
    • Extraction process in a short time.
    • Reduction in the extraction volume, compared with conventional systems (for example, Soxhlet).
    • The amount of sample can be up to 15 g (depending on its density) by extraction.
    • The extraction method uses supercritical fluids (for example, organic solvents heated to high temperature and maintained in liquid state by the application of pressure), which guarantees an exhaustive extraction of the analytes; the solvent can penetrate the micropores of the solid materials.
  • Studies of degradation of drugs, herbicides and other organic compounds as a function of time, exposure to light or different storage conditions.
  • Evaluation of pollution and/or the risk of contamination by emerging compounds in waters and soils.
  • Production and purification of hydrogen to be used as fuel, through catalytic processes (water gas shift reaction) and photocatalytic (water splitting).