Welcome to the fifth special issue dedicated to young analytical scientists in JAAS!

Jorge Pisonero
Associate Professor at Department of Physics, University of Oviedo, Spain. E-mail: pisonerojorge@uniovi.es

The aim of this issue is to highlight the contributions of outstanding young scientists in atomic spectroscopy and related areas, following the success of previous young analytical scientist (YAS) issues organized by Carsten Engelhard in 2014 and by Spiros A. Pergantis in 2010, 2006 and 2002. It should be remarked that the authors of this special issue are nominated by worldwide experts in the spectroscopy field, including members of the Editorial and Advisory Board of JAAS.

It is noted with great satisfaction that many contributors from previous YAS special issues were hired as new analytical faculty. This trend validates that nominated YAS authors show great potential to develop a successful career in analytical atomic spectrometry and related fields. In my case, I had the honour to participate as a contributing author in the 2006 YAS special issue of JAAS.1 I remember that by that time I was working at Prof. Günther’s Group at ETH, and I felt very proud to receive such a prestigious nomination. Eleven years later, back at my home University in Oviedo as an Associate Professor and with a bigger family (see Fig. 1), I have once more the honour of participating in this issue, this time as Guest Editor.
image file: c7ja90040f-f1.tif
Fig. 1 Guest Editor of the fifth YAS special issue of JAAS (Jorge Pisonero) and a potential contributor to future YAS editions.

This YAS special issue contains 19 research articles dedicated to different atomic spectroscopy fields, related to fundamental studies, novel concepts and exciting applications using ICP-MS/OES, LA/LIBS, GD-MS/OES, atmospheric plasma sources or XRF:

State of the art ICP-MS based methods for trace elements and their species analysis in cells was reviewed by B. Chen et al.2 In this manuscript, hyphenated techniques with high potential for biomedical research and clinical applications, based on multi-dimensional chromatography, electrophoresis, chip-based microextraction or laser ablation, were discussed. In a tutorial, the operating principles of ICP-MS/MS and the new possibilities to deal with spectral overlaps, were described in detail by E. Bolea-Fernandez et al.3

Isotope fractionation, accompanying Fe uptake and transport mechanisms at a cellular level in an intestinal Caco-2 cell line in vitro model, was evaluated by M. R. Flórez et al.,4 using MC-ICP-MS. Both processes (absorption and transport) were found to produce Fe isotope fractionation in favour of the light isotopes, in agreement with previous conclusions from in vivo and ex vivo studies. Moreover, elemental mass spectrometry combined with bio-analytical methodologies was applied by H. González-Iglesias et al.,5 for the quantitative distribution of Zn, Cu and Fe in the human lens, and for the study of the Zn-metallothionein redox system in cultured lens epithelial cells.

In relation to new sample preparation methods, single digestion of polymeric waste electrical and electronic requirements, using microwave assisted ultraviolet wet digestion, was developed by P. A. Mello et al.,6 to determine Br, Cd, Cr, Hg and Sb by ICP-MS. Additionally, sample preparation of lipstick for further Cd and Pb determination using ICP-MS was carefully evaluated by M. Foster Mesko et al.7. The results indicate that complexing acids are not required for further determination of Cd, while only HCl combined with HNO3 was required for Pb detection. On the other hand, an analytical method for simultaneous speciation of As and Sb in water samples using TXRF was developed by V. Romero et al.8 This method was based on pre-concentration of inorganic As and Sb onto immobilized Pd NPs after selective hydride generation of arsine and stibine.

Mixed-gas plasma (combining argon, nitrogen and hydrogen) was evaluated by Y. Makonnen et al.,9 as a robust emission source for ICP-OES. Matrix effects were minimized and sensitivity was enhanced. Nevertheless, detection limits were not affected due to an increase in background. This methodology was shown to have great potential for accurate and precise multi-elemental analysis of a variety of environmental and geological matrices. Moreover, hydride generation combined with ICP-OES was investigated for non-chromatographic As speciation from solutions of As(III), As(V), dimethylarsinate (DMA) and monomethylarsonate (MMA) by M. Welna et al.10 In this work, several protocols for speciation of these species in one solution were proposed by combining the responses obtained under different pre-reduction and reaction conditions.

The laser ablation related papers include quantitative LA-ICP-MS Cu mapping of liver cryo-sections from mice by M. Costas Rodríguez et al.11 Calibration was performed either using thin sections of homogenate spiked liver tissue or spiked gelatine droplet standards. Results show inhomogeneous hepatic Cu distribution in mice with cholestatic liver disease, and increasing Cu levels with the progression of the disease. Mapping and characterization of uranium particles in a complex matrix of iron and nickel using tandem LA-ICP-MS/LIBS was investigated by B. T. Manard et al.12 Isotopic ratio measurements and quantification of uranium particles based on abundance was achieved using this innovative technology. LIBS technology was also investigated by J.-B. Sirven et al.,13 for the assessment of exposure to airborne carbon nanotubes through the analysis of filter samples. Furthermore, the analytical capabilities of ArF laser ablation laser-excited atomic fluorescence (LA-LEAF) for rapid As quantification were evaluated by J. Merten et al.14 Measurements were carried out in copper and steel samples under He or Ar atmospheres, respectively. Arsenic LODs were slightly improved in comparison to standard LIBS. Additionally, optimum working conditions for laser ablation with accelerator mass spectrometry (LA-AMS), which enables spatially resolved analyses of radiocarbon in carbonates, were investigated by C. Welte et al.15 In this study, LA-ICP-MS was used to investigate laser sources that provide high Cgas formation rates and Cgas conversion efficiencies. Gas transport characteristics of the current LA-AMS were evaluated and the growth stop width of a natural stalagmite sample was characterized by a developed model. Based on these studies an improved LA-AMS setup is proposed.

Glow discharge spectroscopy papers are also included in this issue. For instance, GD-OES was evaluated for the characterization of oxidized Ni-based superalloys by W. J. Nowak.16 Fast depth resolved analysis of thick oxide layers and coatings (between 2 μm and 120 μm) was successfully achieved and validated using other analytical techniques such as light optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Moreover, a setup based on differential interferometric profiling was developed by S. Gaiaschi et al.,17 for real-time depth measurement in GD-OES. Measurement accuracy better than 5% was obtained for crater depth ranging from 100 nm to several μm, providing significant improvement to the quantification process in GD-OES. In relation to GD-MS, the production of doubly charged sample ions by charge transfer and ionization (CTI) was investigated by S. Mushtaq et al.18 This “non-selective” process was differentiated from the asymmetric charge transfer process that requires a close energy match. CTI was found to only occur for a limited number of elements, depending on the plasma gas used and the total energy required to doubly ionize the metallic atom.

In relation to atmospheric pressure plasma sources, a plasma assisted reaction chemical ionization source with liquid sample introduction was developed by K. Jorabchi et al.19 This source was found to provide high sensitivity detection of chlorine in liquid chromatography separated compounds. Moreover, a miniature microelectrodialysis liquid electrode discharge optical emission spectrometer was developed and applied for potassium screening in human serum by Y.-L. Yu et al.20 Using this methodology, matrix interferences and sample consumption were reduced while sample throughput was increased.

Before signing off, I would like to thank all of the authors that submitted papers for this special YAS issue. I wish all of them success in their future industrial or academic careers. Moreover, I would like to acknowledge all referees for taking their time to review the submissions and all colleagues for taking their time to nominate this year’s YAS authors. Special thanks are due to Philippa Hughes, Rebeca Brodie and to the Editorial Board of JAAS for giving me the opportunity to organize this issue. Also, I would like to acknowledge the JAAS Editorial Staff for their hard work organising and publishing this year’s YAS issue.


  1. V. Mozna, J. Pisonero, M. Hola, V. Kanicky and D. Gunther, Quantitative analysis of Fe-based samples using ultraviolet nanosecond and femtosecond laser ablation-ICP-MS, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2006, 21, 1194–1201 RSC.
  2. B. Chen, et al.,  10.1039/C6JA00414H.
  3. E. B. Fernandez, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00010C.
  4. M. R. Flórez et al. ,  10.1039/C7JA00090A.
  5. H. G. Iglesias, et al.,  10.1039/C6JA00431H.
  6. P. de A. Mello, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00123A.
  7. M. F. Mesko, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00139H.
  8. V. Romero, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00113D.
  9. Y. Makonnen et al. ,  10.1039/C7JA00112F.
  10. M. Welna, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00107J.
  11. M. C. Rodriguez, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00134G.
  12. B. T. Manard et al. ,  10.1039/C7JA00102A.
  13. J.-B. Sirven, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00121E.
  14. J. A. Merten, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00092H.
  15. C. Welte, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00118E.
  16. W. J. Nowak et al. ,  10.1039/C7JA00069C.
  17. S. Gaiaschi, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00146K.
  18. S. Mushtaq, et al.,  10.1039/C6JA00415F.
  19. K. Jorabchi, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00115K.
  20. Y.-L. Yu, et al.,  10.1039/C7JA00111H.

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017