Analytical Chemistry Leaves the Lab
To do chemical analyses, researchers currently need to go to the sample, transport it to a laboratory and then perform their analysis. As Canada Research Chair in New Analytical Methods and Technologies, Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn wants to revolutionize sample collection by developing accurate, precise, on-site devices that move analytical chemistry out of the lab and allow researchers to complete their analyses right where the system to be investigated is located.
For example, researchers could characterize a person’s blood composition using a micro-probe to do a selective intravenous extraction of very small quantities in a targeted area. Replacing the need for needles in collecting blood for analysis, such technology would make samples easier, faster and safer to gather.
Such micro-analytical technologies combined with a wireless communication system would also provide immediate information about a patient’s health status. Such systems could also be used to better monitor, investigate and correct the impact of environmental conditions and food supply on human and animal health.
Through his lab, InFAReL, Pawliszyn’s research team is also developing joint research projects with partners in industry and health care.
Pawliszyn has already developed several well-integrated sampling and sample-preparation technologies, including Solid Phase Microextraction, recognized by the analytical community as one of the six greatest analytical inventions of the last decade. As Chair, he has already expanded this research towards analyses carried out where the sample naturally occurs, including within the human body and other living organisms.
Pawliszyn believes that on-site analysis will help both eliminate errors and reduce the time between sample collection and analysis. The technologies resulting from his research will have wide-spread impacts in the health, food and environment sectors, making analyses both faster and less invasive.