Restek Helps Italian University Students Launch Startup

The O-Zone Team from the University of Padua, Italy.

Restek is helping a team of students in Italy at the University of Padua that is building a device to analyze the air quality at different altitudes by donating gas sampling bags and other air sampling tools.

The O-Zone Team is a group of students interested in the environment who want to make a difference. Polluted cities and a lack of awareness of the resulting health effects inspired the students to begin building an inexpensive and easy-to-use device capable of analyzing the air at different heights. Several UniPD faculty are involved with the O-Zone team: Professor Alessandro Francesconi is responsible for the team’s project, Dr. Federico Toson is a team leader, and Dr. Antonino Pitarresi is responsible for contacting companies for participation in the project. The O-Zone team hopes to encourage companies and governments to use the device to take quick measurements of air pollution to help monitor factories and farms, protect nature reserves, and make assessments following natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and fires.

In February, these students reached out to Restek’s office in Italy for help turning their idea into a prototype. Stefano Ongarato, Restek’s sales manager in Italy, and Becky Wittrig, Restek’s vice president of sales in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, were excited to help the student scientists, not only with donations but also by offering advice and chemical expertise over video conference.

“They had really interesting ideas and we helped find ways to test them,” said Ongarato; “I’m looking forward to visiting their lab and helping even more this summer.”

In October, the O-Zone Team will launch their prototype into the air using a high-altitude BEXUS balloon as part of the REXUS/BEXUS project, which offers university students from across Europe the opportunity to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Each year, two rockets and two balloons are launched, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student teams.

The O-Zone Team’s device will collect air samples at different altitudes from the ground up to 35 kilometers in the air—which is four times the height of Mount Everest!

Said Pitarresi, “with these tools for testing our experiment, we can accomplish our mission of a cleaner planet. We thank Restek for the support of our mini-startup.”

To learn more about the O-Zone Team, visit www.ozone-team.com

www.restek.com

Sputtered Silicon Solid Phase Microextraction Fibers with a Polydimethylsiloxane Stationary Phase with Negligible Carry-Over and Phase Bleed

Authors: Tuhin Roychowdhury2,  Dhananjay Patel2, Dhruv Shaha2, Anubhav Diwan3, Massoud Kaykhaii4,
Jason Herrington1, David  Bell1,  Matthew Linford2

1. Restek Corporation, 2. Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Brigham Young University, 3. Moxtek, Inc.,
4. Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Sistan and Baluchestan

Published By: Journal of Chromatography A

Year of Publication: 2020

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2020.461065

Abstract:
We report the preparation of high performance, sputtered, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-coated solid phase microextraction (SPME) fibers that show negligible carry-over and phase bleed. This process involves sputtering silicon onto silica fibers and functionalizing the resulting porous nanostructures with ultrathin films of vapor-deposited PDMS. Different thicknesses of silicon (0.25, 0.8, and 1.8 µm) and PDMS (8, 16, and 36 nm) were produced and their extraction efficiencies evaluated. The deposition of PDMS was confirmed by time-of-fight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE), and contact angle goniometry on model, planar silicon substrates. These fibers were investigated using direct immersion SPME coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of a series of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic pollutants. The 1.8 µm thick silicon coating with 16 nm of PDMS (Si (1.8 µm)/PDMS (16 nm)) produced the best response among the combinations tested. Conditions for the extraction of PAHs with this fiber were optimized and its extraction performance was compared to that of a commercial 7 μm PDMS fiber. The linearity (1 – 110 µgL−1), repeatability (RSD%, n=3) (17% ave.), and minimum detection limits (0.6 – 1.5 µgL−1) of the sputtered fibers were determined and found to be superior to the commercial 7µm PDMS fiber in many respects. Carry-over and phase bleed from commercial PDMS-based SPME fibers are two of their major drawbacks, which decrease their lifetimes and usefulness. Minimal carry-over and phase bleed were observed for our sputtered PDMS-coated fibers. In particular, our fiber only shows 12 % of the phase bleed of the comparable commercial fiber. In addition, it shows no carry-over for analytes with retention times greater than pyrene, and only 5 % of the carry-over of the other analytes. Our fibers could be used for at least 300 injections without any significant loss of performance.

Hunting Molecules in Complex Matrices with SPME Arrows: A Review

Author(s): Jason Herrington, German Gómez-Ríos, Colton Myers, Gary Stidsen, David Bell
Restek Corporation

Published By: Separations

Special Issue: Development of Alternative Green Sample Preparation Techniques

Year of Publication: 2020

Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/separations7010012

Abstract:
Thirty years since the invention and public disclosure of solid phase microextraction (SPME), the technology continues evolving and inspiring several other green extraction technologies amenable for the collection of small molecules present in complex matrices. In this manuscript, we review the fundamental and operational aspects of a novel SPME geometry that can be used to “hunt” target molecules in complex matrices: the SPME Arrow. In addition, a series of applications in environmental, food, cannabis and forensic analysis are succinctly covered. Finally, special emphasis is placed on novel interfaces to analytical instrumentation, as well as recent developments in coating materials for the SPME Arrow.

Restek Wins Science Video of the Year Award

Restek’s Nathaly Reyes Garcés, Colton Myers, and Ashlee Gerardi accept the award for Analytical Science Video of the Year

Leading science publisher SelectScience presented Restek with its Analytical Science Video of the Year Award during the annual Scientists’ Choice Awards on March 4. The ceremony was held at the Pittcon 2020 International Conference and Expo in Chicago.

The video features Restek scientists Dr. Nathaly Reyes Garcés and Colton Myers, and Business Development Manager, Ashlee Gerardi, sharing their expertise on cannabis testing workflows and method development.

The video can be found online here: https://thescientistschannel.com/nathaly-reyes-garces

Now in its 13th year, the annual Scientists’ Choice Awards recognize the new technologies that have had the greatest impact on global scientific advancement. More scientists than ever became involved this year by nominating and voting online.

Last year, SelectScience presented Restek with its Reviewers’ Choice Award for Analytical Science Company of the Year in recognition of the array of positive feedback it received from customers leaving laboratory product reviews on its influential website.

www.restek.com