Sunlight can chemically transform plastics from consumer plastic bags into complex chemical mixtures that leach into the ocean. Understanding the impact of plastic pollution requires advanced analytical techniques that can identify transformed plastic molecules in water samples, and requires instrumentation only available at the Maglab.
Researchers share new insights on the role of seasonality in dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition in large Arctic rivers.
Road asphalt is made from aggregate (rocks) mixed with a "binder” from the residue remaining after extraction of gasoline and oils from petroleum crude oil. Until recently, this binder was thought to be chemically unreactive. Maglab scientists subjected a thin film of asphalt binder to simulated sunlight in the laboratory and used ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to reveal thousands of new, water-soluble chemicals that could be released into the environment by rainfall.