Overview: Our research is in the field of physical chemistry and analytical chemistry of relevance to the atmosphere and atmospheric interfaces (air/water/ice/snow). It focuses on the understanding of selected chemical transformations of organic compounds, as well as the understanding of trace metal pollutants in the atmosphere and at atmosphere/water/snow interfaces. Identifying such atmospheric processes can also be significant in understanding the complexity of air pollution and health hazards including airborne particulate matter (aerosols). The interaction between aerosols and clouds is a significant factor affecting the magnitude of the climate change and is a major research topic recognized by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; 2013), and the Word Health Organisation (WHO; 2013) regarding the role of aerosols in cloud nucleation microphysics and health studies.
Aerosol-cloud interactions are identified as the most uncertain area in climate science, and one of the highest research priorities in all domains of climate change. Moreover, according to WHO, aerosols cause diseases of respiratory, cardiac and cancerous nature, and nanoparticles (aerosols with diameters of less than 100 nm) are a key factor in the premature death of children around the globe. The research required to narrow the knowledge gap in aerosol-cloud interactions is related to physicochemical investigation of processes such as size, contact angle, surface properties, and photochemistry, play major roles. Interestingly, similar physical and chemical properties play significant roles in the toxicological evaluation of adverse health impact of particles. In our laboratories, the chemical reactions are studied through state-of-the-art kinetic and photochemical laboratory investigations. We perform highly sensitivity measurements of trace compounds to characterize chains of chemical reactions and nucleation processes, both in the atmosphere and at air/water/snow interfaces. Further research activities include complementary computational and atmospheric chemical modelling of the reaction intermediates in the atmosphere to simulate the complex physical-bio-chemical interactions. During the last seven years, we also focus on development of novel green chemistry methods and techniques for removal of pollutants and recycling, as well as development of novel sensors for ultra-trace pollutants, required in environmental and health sciences. Our current research domains include:
(I) Trace metal and organic photochemistry and heterogeneous chemistry (II) Bioaerosol chemistry, microphysics and genomics (III) Natural nanoparticle adn microparticle chemistry and physics: Impacts on climate and health (IV) Development of novel techniques for trace metal and organic analysis (V) Development of novel sustainable and energy neutral technology for pollution remediation
We are very grateful to several funding agencies to their continuous financial or in-kind support to perform our research and training bright highly qualified personnel. They include McGill University, NSERC (operating/discovery, northern suppl., CRD, Engage, strategic, I2I, network, CREATE), CFI, FRQNT (professor/researcher, new researcher, strategic, network), Environment Canada, CSA, Fishery and Ocean, Health Canada, NanoQubec (Prima), EU, MPI and NASA.