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The interests of Prof. Almirall's research group include fundamental analytical chemistry and the development of analytical chemistry tools for use in forensic science including materials analyses using LA-ICP-MS and detection and identification of small organic compounds such as drugs, explosives, ignitable liquid residues and gunshot residue. Dr. Almirall has been awarded five patents based on novel air sampling tools to improve the detection and preconcentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Dr. Almirall is also interested in the standardization of analytical methods used by forensic scientists and currently leads a global effort to standardize the analysis of glass evidence using LA-ICP-MS and the interpretation of the data for use in courts of law.

Research Areas

Dr. Almirall's research interests include:

  • Development and application of analytical chemistry tools to enhance the value of scientific evidence and including the standardization of forensic chemistry methods
  • Detection and identification of organic compounds of forensic interest such as controlled substances, explosives and ignitable liquids in the field or through use of field-portable detectors such as Ion Mobility Spectrometers and portable mass spectrometers
  • Coupling of microextraction tools to portable mass spectrometers for the detection of VOCs related to drugs, explosives and ignitable liquids
  • Development of methodology for the characterization of materials using elemental analysis, specifically the determination of ultra-trace quantities of elements in glass and other matrices using LA-ICP-MS, u-XRF and LIBS and organic and inorganic characterization of inks
  • Fundamental improvement in LIBS analysis of materials of interest to forensic scientists