The need for quantitative and fast identification of trace gaseous compounds in complex chemical matrices continuously pushes the limits of analytical chemistry in many areas of relevance to the EU, including food, health, the environment, and security. A relatively new broad-based and rapidly growing analytical technique, proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), combines excellent chemical specification with ultra high detection sensitivity in real-time, but is only partially exploited owing to the lack of a focused research programme in terms of its scientific fundamentals and applications, and owing to a lack of an intersectoral and interdisciplinary based forum for the exchange of ideas and best practice to further develop PTR-MS.
The demand for PTR-MS is outstripping the supply of highly qualified chemists who cannot only use the technology, but who also have a broad background in analytical chemistry, and are capable of leading multidisciplinary research/commercial activities. There is an urgent need within Europe for the harmonized training of ESRs in analytical chemistry within many sectors and across many disparate scientific disciplines and applications. The overall goal of this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary ITN is to train the next generation of analytical scientists in the skills necessary for the development and use of PTR-MS and other analytical technologies (including GC-MS, SIFT-MS and IMS) for the detection of trace gaseous compounds.
Our vision is to enhance our understanding of the crucial role these chemicals play in many complex chemical environments and the underpinning science needed to develop techniques to address major analytical challenges. The network is intersectoral in nature combining commercial (both manufacturers and “end-users”), governmental and academic concerns using a range of state-of-the-art analytical techniques, to address a number of topical analytical issues in an interdisciplinary cooperative.
PIMMS is supported by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme under Grant Agreement Number 287382.