Welcome to Microplastic Analysis Applying μFTIR Imaging, ATR-FTIR and other Techniques

This PhD course addresses sampling, sample preparation and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to analyse microplastics in environmental samples.

The course will start with some theory on suitable techniques for microplastics research, and an introduction to infrared spectroscopy. From here, focus shifts towards sampling techniques for microplastics, and treatment for clean-up of samples. We will discuss the steps needed in cleaning up samples for natural organic and inorganic matter, as well as getting samples ready for subsequent identification. You will be expected to participate in a group exercise aimed to help your understanding of the choice of methods for sample preparation depending on the sample matrix.

The next step in analysis is identification of plastic material, and size. The consensus is that FTIR based techniques are most promising for this. Especially techniques applying µFTIR imaging – the combination of light microscopy with spectral images generated by Focal Plane Array (FPA) or linear array-based instruments to a particle assembly – have proven highly promising. Another promising (and possibly complementary) technique for identification of plastic material is pyrolysis GC/MS (Pyr GC/MS). This course will provide an introduction to both techniques, along with some hands-on learning possibilities.

The last step in microplastics research is the interpretation of obtained data. We provide our solution for it in the software siMPle (formerly known as MPhunter), which is used for (semi-)automated FTIR data interpretation. You will be taught how it works and will get first-hand experience during our practice session.

All steps require a high degree of expertise and training. This course is aimed to introduce participants too all steps and discuss issues, pros and cons of different approaches, and is in general very open and informally structured to promote discussions.

As a participant you have the option of bringing samples from your own research. If you are interested in this, please contact Nikki van Alst (nva@civil.aau.dk) no later than October 4th, 2019 to discuss the details and possibilities.

Organizer: Jes Vollertsen, Nikki van Alst, Kristina Borg Olesen

Lecturers: Rob Wills (Agilent Technologies, Inc. UK), João Frias (MFRC-GMIT, Ireland), Alessio Gomiero (NORCE, Norway) & Sebastian Primpke (AWI, Germany).

ECTS: 5.0

Time: 25th – 29th November 2019

Place: Section of Water & Environment, Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University. Room 1.238, Thomas Manns Vej 23, Aalborg Øst, Denmark

City: Aalborg

Number of seats: 15

Deadline: 25th October 2019

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 5,000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately three months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.