Synthesis and analysis

Chemical Synthesis and Analysis is a multidisciplinary research program of the Department of Chemistry, which centers on the development of modern synthetic methods and analytical techniques for a broad spectrum of important topics including fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, novel materials, lignocellulose biomass, and environmental and bioanalytical sciences. Besides research projects carried out by the program alone, there is considerable co-operation with industry and external research institutes. In all our research projects, green chemistry approaches and sustainability are taken into consideration.

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.

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).

The research in the Chemical Synthesis and Analysis program takes place at the Department of Chemistry in recently renovated, state-of-the-art laboratories with excellent infrastructure.

Bioanalytical chemistry


Solving bioanalytical and physicochemical problems

Dr. Susanne Wiedmer (PI), university lecturer

Our group has expertise in chromatographic and capillary electromigration (CE) techniques, field flow fractionation (AF4), and in biosensing methods such as quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and nanoplasmonic sensing (NPS). The group has since the beginning of 2000 been working on liposomes and on liposome-analyte interactions using various modes of CE. Much focus has been on studying interactions between biomembrane-mimicking surfaces and analytes (by CE, NPS, and QCM) as well as on characterizing lipid vesicles and particles by CE, AF4, zeta potential, and particle size determinations. Emphasis has also been on the determination of distribution constants of analytes using liposomes built up from synthetic lipids or lipids extracted from biological samples. Ionic liquids have been another research target in the group, and focus has been on determining the toxicity of novel synthesized ionic liquids. Liposomes, cells, and zebrafish models have been used for that purpose. 

Environmental analytical chemistry


With the present heightened concern about the wellbeing of the environment (climate change and chemicalization), as well as tightening environmental legislation, high hopes are being pinned on discoveries and innovations in science and technology.

Research in the field of environmental analytical chemistry is focused on the development of selective, efficient and reliable techniques and methods for sampling, sample pre-treatment, analysis and detection of environmental samples. The goal is to solve a variety of environmental problems and to shed light on research areas where these systems are needed. The successful application of the modern instrumental techniques and methods to qualitative and quantitative analysis of environmental samples (water, plants, soil, sediment, air and aerosol particles) requires often the exploitation of totally new materials. This is true especially in different solid phase microextraction techniques that are utilized to combine sampling, extraction and sample concentration into one step. The studies are targeted also at portable instruments and selective chemical sensors, valuable for field measurements. In the research, high resolution chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry are the core techniques, and if only possible, harmful organic solvents are replaced with environmentally friendly supercritical fluids (CO2 and water) or pressurized hot water in sample pre-treatment, analytical separations and synthesis of new materials. Reliable calibration systems play also an important role in the development of environmental analytical techniques.