Department of Chemistry Seminar Announcement. About the Speaker.
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About the Speaker
Professor Thomas Prohaska is analytical chemist at the Austrian University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences involved in research and teaching. The major focus lies on elemental and isotopic analysis by using mass spectrometric techniques for applications in analytical ecogeochemistry. The major areas of research cover the fields of food provenance and quality, environmental biomonitoring, migration studies and forensic science.
Born in 1968, he studied Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology. He received his PhD with summa cum laude in 1995 and became scientific researcher at the BOKU Vienna to built up a laboratory
for elemental trace analysis. From 1998 to 2000 he was working as researcher at the European Commission joint research center IRMM in Belgium. Afterwards, he returned to Vienna with a new focus on stable isotope research and became Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry in 2002. A research award from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) enabled the setup of a new isotope research laboratory (VIRIS laboratory) in 2006.
The isotopic composition of strontium (Sr) makes this element so interesting for various scientific disciplines. The natural composition of the four naturally occurring isotopes (84Sr, 86Sr 87Sr and 88Sr) varies in nature due to the radioactive decay of 87Rb to 87Sr. Natural variations of the 87Sr abundance is mainly determined by the geological age and the original composition of the rock and can be used therefore as fingerprint of the local geology.
The Sr system is used in various fields of application including anthropology, archaeology, nutritional and food science, chemical technology, forensic science, medicine and biology. The Sr isotope system will be presented along with multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) as the technique for high precision isotope ratio measurements. Selected examples that make use of natural Sr isotopic variations will be reported: Proof of geographical provenance of food, forensic applications as well as migration studies on prehistoric cultures and in biological systems. In addition, the application of enriched Sr isotope spikes will be presented to investigate Sr turnover as a proxy for calcium in biomedical studies, marking of tissues for tracing and migration experiments and investigation of environmental processes. Laser ablation (LA) analysis in combination with ICP-MS will be presented as analytical technique for spatially resolved analysis for mapping surfaces and producing chemical images elucidating elemental and isotopic distribution on the surface of solid materials.
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