Postgraduate seminar: Rebecca Mattison. “Fluorescent sensors for environmental systems”
Speaker: Ms Rebecca Mattison, School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney (Refreshments to follow this seminar)
Host: A/Prof Liz New [Map]
Pollution from heavy metals will continue to depreciate the health of organisms and contaminate landscapes and water bodies; getting progressively worse and more concerning as time goes on. Whilst nickel is a naturally occurring element in our environment, the major source of nickel dispersion is from anthropogenic activities, which can be controlled and changed. In order for this change to be carried out; to reduce the amount of nickel disposed on the planet, an effective and reliable method to monitor the concentration of nickel ions in a variety of media is necessary.
The development of analytical tools to identify and quantify chemical species in complex fluids is of interest to many, from environmental scientists to forensic investigators to biological researchers. Fluorescent sensing offers the sensitivity required for such studies. For many heavy metals, finding a molecular sensor which is sensitive and selective for that one particular metal proves to be challenging. This is a necessary feat as the dispersion of heavy metals in the environment continues to grow as their use for many applications expands. This research involves developing novel strategies to generate sensitive and selective fluorescent sensors for heavy metals. The metal will in some way affect the fluorescence intensity of the molecule, and from this change the concentration of the heavy metal can be inferred. From this, the hope is to introduce a metal sensing system which can be simple to use and give real-time on-site detection, and thereby controlling the level of heavy metal pollution in our environment.