In addition, the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) operates at the Department. The Unit of Chemistry Teacher Education actively researches the teaching of chemistry and the development of teaching methods.
Research methods range from laboratory work to demanding equipment technologies, computational research and modelling. Research projects are often multidisciplinary. Researchers at the Department of Chemistry have joint projects with University units in the fields of, for example, physics, biological sciences, pharmacy and medicine. Other key partners include Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and many universities, research institutes and companies in Finland and abroad.
The molecular research unit of the Department of Chemistry combines many complementary molecular and methodological approaches, both experimental and theoretical. The main directions of experimental studies are exhaled human air monitoring, photochemistry, low-temperature chemistry, fundamental reaction studies, gas kinetics, solid phase and surface reactions, and combustion chemistry. We actively develop infrared optical frequency combs, precision laser spectroscopy and mass spectrometric techniques, to name a few. In parallel to experimental techniques, we develop and employ a multitude of theoretical and computational methods.
Applications include large water clusters, the dynamics of chemical reactions on surfaces, and molecular spectroscopy. Thermodynamics and reactions of atmospheric species, bioinspired catalysis, biomolecules, weak interactions, and solar-cell chromophores are modelled. Methods for computing electronic currents, pathways, and aromaticity, and for performing computational quantum chemistry are developed.
The radiochemistry research is a part of the molecular science research programme. The radiochemistry research is focused on four areas, the largest one of them being a study on the behaviour of radionuclides geosphere in reference to the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Another area related to nuclear waste is the development of inorganic ion exchangers for the selective removal of radionuclides from nuclear waste effluents. The third area is radiopharmaceutical chemistry and the fourth environmental radioactivity.
In the field of analytical chemistry focus is on the development of novel instrumental techniques including the whole chain of chemical analysis (sampling, sample preparation, analysis). Special emphasis is on theoretical, methodological, and technical challenges. The utilization of new materials, miniaturization, and hyphenation of techniques play an important role in the studies. Problem solving by several techniques, such as electromigration techniques, chromatography, and mass spectrometry, is targeted at both environmental and bioanalytical chemistry (atmospheric analytical chemistry and new biochemical miniaturized instrumental systems).
In the field of synthetic chemistry our main focus is on inorganic and organic synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, as well as biocatalysis, metal catalysis and metal-free catalysis. The specific research areas include carbohydrate synthesis, catalytic activation of small molecules, biorefinery applications involving lignocellulosic biomass processing and analytics, and the chemistry of nucleic acid constituents. Computational chemistry assisted synthesis and the design of novel catalysts, as well as high-level structural characterization of substrates by various spectroscopic techniques are essential parts of the research program.
Polymers are an essential part of our modern society. They perform critical functions in food technology and safety, transportation, information technology, clothing, sports and leisure activities, and other daily necessities such as cosmetics and hygiene products. Also, modern medicine is essentially unthinkable without polymers; life is impossible without polymers. Our research combines synthetic polymer chemistry, fundamental polymer physics, and colloid chemistry. We master modern synthetic techniques and aim to construct materials with new functionalities. Self-assembling processes of amphiphilic aqueous polymers, as well as their response to temperature, light, magnetic field, pH, and ionic strength are the essential topics. In addition, inorganic/organic/bio hybrid nanomaterials are synthesized and characterized. Methods of polymer characterization are of high standard, including spectroscopic, scattering, rheological, and calorimetric techniques.