With increasing media coverage on global warming, and reports on environmental pollution in both air, water and soil, coming at the same time as rising pressure on a safe environment and food supply for a growing population, there is a greater focus on environmental science and environmental health.

As global awareness of environmental issues and safety is growing, we do not only realize the need to be proactive and take preventive actions on environmental pollution and the protection of public health, but we also have to deal with decisions that were made sometimes decades ago. Today we appreciate the need to clean up polluted air and water, to decontaminate soil and to replace hazardous chemicals and other components that are used in our near vicinity such as toys, clothes, cosmetics, dermatological products and foods.

In many of these areas, the interaction of materials at the nanoscale plays an imperative role, and insight into this field will make an important contribution to characterization, assessment, predictability and safety control – in terms of both securing future health and safety and cleaning up pollution deriving from the past. One example is the area of toxicology and the characterization of materials and interfaces where behavior in certain contexts and environments, for example nanoparticles interacting with the body or the environment, are essential, as little is known regarding interaction, spreading and long term effects. Another area of importance is that of decontamination, such as filtration of water or decontamination of soil.

QSense QCM-D is an analytical method that helps to characterize and understand surface interaction processes at the nanoscale. For example, it can be used for toxicology assessments, to study the uptake and deposition rates of nanoparticles or other contaminants, as well as particles used in environmental remediation, biofilm formation, filtration and the decontamination of soil.

Surface tension and critical micelle concentration are important parameters for biosurfactants used for soil purification. Significant research focus is also directed towards improving the properties of the membranes. Membranes are used for desalination and for the purification of waste or drinking water. Hydrophilicity plays a big role and contact angle measurement offers a great tool for the assessment of hydrophobicity of the membrane.