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Environmental applications of Infrared Ion Spectroscopy

A major challenge of the 21st century is to ensure food security for the growing world population in a world where quality and quantity of arable land are diminishing. Low temperatures may restrict plant development and frost may cause tissue damage, reducing crop yields.

Molecular heaters

The Horizon2020 FET-OPEN project “BoostCrop” aims at the development of molecular heaters that efficiently convert the solar photons that are not used for photosynthesis to heat. These heater molecules will be applied as a foliar spray to the crops to induce a temperature increase of a few degrees centigrade, which can increase crop yields significantly. One of the major tasks of the BoostCrop consortium is to identify suitable heater molecules. These molecular heaters may also reduce the energy consumption of greenhouses, extend the growth season for crops and allow for using lands at higher elevations.

FELIX: identification by-products

Our contribution to the BoostCrop project is to identify possible by-products generated upon UV exposure and degradation of the heater molecules. The characterization of by-products resulting from the application of BoostCrop agents will be vital in ensuring the environmental and human-related safety of the photon-to-molecule heaters in real-world applications. This holds especially true in the use of plant derived UV filters for the application of bio/plant based sunscreens which would bring these photon molecule heaters in direct contact with humans. The use of IRIS will allow us to structurally elucidate the by-products.


Other environmental studies

UV/Vis and IRMPD Spectroscopic Analysis of the Absorption Properties of Methylglyoxal Brown Carbon
Lemai Vo, Emily Legaard, Corey Thrasher, Aron Jaffe, Giel Berden, Jonathan Martens, Jos Oomens, and Rachel E. O’Brien
ACS Earth Space Chem. 2021, 5, 4, 910–919

Infrared Ion Spectroscopy of Environmental Organic Mixtures: Probing the Composition of α-Pinene Secondary Organic Aerosol
Emma Q. Walhout, Shelby E. Dorn, Jonathan Martens, Giel Berden, Jos Oomens, Paul H.-Y. Cheong, Jesse H. Kroll, and Rachel E. O’Brien
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 13, 7604–7612