A University of Texas at
Arlington chemist’s work to develop a more efficient, effective way of measuring
ions in solution has led to a new device in the scientific marketplace that
could improve water quality testing and manufacturing methods.
Dr. Purnendu Dasgupta
Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta
invented the charge detector for ion chromatography, along with Bingcheng Yang,
a member of his research group, and Kannan Srinivasan, technical director for
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. The U.S. Patent office recently assigned a patent
for the new technology to the UT System Board of Regents and Dionex
Corporation, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Thermo Fisher is Dionex’s parent company.
“The fact that ions carry a
charge has been known since before the 20th Century began. For the
first time, we can now measure that charge in a solution,” said Dasgupta, the
Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the UT Arlington College of Science. “This gives
you a possibility that didn’t exist before. It gives you new information that couldn’t
be accessed before.”
The components that make up organic
and inorganic compounds carry differing levels of charged ions. Phosphate, for
example, is triple-charged, while chloride is singly charged. The new charge detector uses a membrane-based
separation or desalting technology that detects ions in proportion to their
charge and concentration. Because a single standard can be used to determine
known and unknown compounds, frequent recalibration of the machine is not
needed and efficiency is increased.
The patented method has been
incorporated in the new Thermo Scientific Dionex QD, a product Thermo Fisher
Scientific debuted in March. The machine combines charge detection with
conductivity detection, the traditional method for measuring ions, to greatly
“We are particularly proud of the fact that Dr.
Dasgupta’s innovation has made its way into the marketplace,” said Carolyn
Cason, vice president for research at UT Arlington. “One of the hallmarks of a
vibrant research university is the ability to team with industry to advance
scientific application, and that is what Dr. Dasgupta has done.”
An announcement from Thermo
Fisher Scientific said the new machine surpasses past products in large part
because of its sensitivity to weakly dissociated ions, which are present in
numerous organic acids. It said the invention is “well-suited for analysis of
phosphates in environmental testing laboratories, organic acids in the food and
beverage industry and ethanolamines in the chemical industry.”
“It’s been more than 35 years
since we’ve been using conductivity detection and now we have a new mode of
detection available for ions and a superior mode of detection,” Srinivasan said
during an interview at the PittCon Conference & Expo in March.
Dasgupta has received numerous
national and international awards for his work in ion chromatography, including
the prestigious 2012 Dal Nogare Award, given by the Chromatography Forum of the
Delaware Valley, and the 2011 American Chemical Society Award in Chromatography.
He has been awarded more than $18 million in research grants and is the author
of more than 400 scientific papers. The latest patent is his 23rd.
Dasgupta’s work is
representative of the innovation under way at UT Arlington, a
comprehensive research institution of more than 33,200 students and more than
2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu
to learn more.
More information about the
Thermo Scientific Dionex QD is available at http://news.thermofisher.com/press-release/thermo-scientific/thermo-fisher-scientific-debuts-charge-detector-ion-chromatography.