QUT research capability enhanced with two ARC Linkage Infrastructure grants

Australia’s first advanced high resolution aerosol mass spectrometers and a new physical property measurement system for South-East Queensland will upgrade research capabilities in air quality and health and testing of new materials, thanks to two ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities grants of more than $1.4 million.

QUT had a success rate of 50 per cent in this ARC grant round, against a national success rate of 34 per cent.

Real-time mass spectrometry for advanced aerosol chemical characterisation

A multidisciplinary team of nine chief investigators and a partner investigator – the Australian Antarctic Division – will procure and operate two high-resolution, real-time, aerosol mass spectrometers, first of its kind in Australia, for marine aerosol research, urban air quality, and indoor air quality with the $831,200 grant. (Pictured above from left: Associate Professor Branka Miljevic, Distinguished Professor Professor Lidia Morawska, Professor Godwin Ayoko.)

First investigator, QUT’s Associate Professor Branka Miljevic, from the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said the project aims to enhance Australian aerosol research capabilities with the acquisition of two complementary, high-sensitivity field-deployable mass spectrometers for real-time aerosol chemical characterisation.

“Atmospheric aerosols profoundly affect climate and human health, and aerosols’ chemical composition is a major factor that controls these effects,” Professor Miljevic said.

“Real-time aerosol mass spectrometry revolutionises studies of dynamics of atmospheric processes that are not possible using classic filter sampling and laboratory processing.

“This new capability will support cutting-edge studies on atmospheric processes related to climate, air quality and human health, sustainability, and efficiency enhancement of industrial and energy generation processes.”

The investigatory team comprises Professor Miljevic, Professor Zoran Ristovski, Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska and Professor Godwin Ayoko, all from QUT, Professor Clare Murphy from University of Wollongong; Associate Professor Robyn Schofield from The University of Melbourne; Dr Daniel Harrison from Southern Cross University; Dr Marc Mallet and Dr Sonya Fiddes from University of Tasmania. Dr Simon Alexander is the partner investigator from the Australian Antarctic Division.

Multipurpose Physical Property Measurement System for South-East Queensland

This project, awarded $586,779, aims to deliver a unique system capable of automated precision measurements of the electronic, magnetic and thermal properties of novel functional materials at extreme conditions that are not currently available to Queensland researchers.

Associate Professor Richard Taylor, Professor Zhi-Gang Chen, Dr Mahboobeh Shahbazi, Associate Professor Dongchen Qi and Professor Jose Alarco

First investigator Dr Mahboobeh Shahbazi, from QUT School of Chemistry and Physics, said the multidisciplinary team, from three universities, would enhance Queensland’s existing capability and enable measurements of materials and devices developed in laboratories at higher magnetic fields and/or pressure at a broader temperature range.

“Our aim is to deliver a versatile system with advanced capabilities to measure a wide range of material and device properties as a function of temperature, pressure and magnetic field,” Dr Shahbazi said.

“Such measurements are significant for productivity and technology improvements in our nation’s transportation, health diagnostics, and clean energy industries.

“Advanced materials such as nanomaterials, superconductors and thermoelectrics exhibit exciting behaviours at the micro/nano scale that could revolutionise industry and society through applications ranging from clean energy generation and storage to transportation and health.

The team comprises Dr Shahbazi, Professor Zhi-Gang Chen, Professor Jose Alarco, Associate Professor Dongchen Qi and Associate Professor Richard Taylor from QUT, Associate Professor Md Shahriar Hossain, Professor Kazuhiro Nogita, and Professor Feng Liu from The University of Queensland; and, Dr Toan Dinh from the University of Southern Queensland.

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