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Chemistry Barrow Group

Barrow Group

From oil sample to fingerprint

FTICR mass spectrometry, Petroleomics, and the Environment

My research is focussed upon the characterization of complex mixtures using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry. In particular, a 12 T Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometer is used to characterize petroleum samples, such as crude oils, as part of the field that has become known as "petroleomics." Environmental samples from the Athasbasca region of Canada are also studied to determine the environmental impact of the oil sands industry. Through the molecular characterization of complex mixtures, containing tens of thousands of components, profiles can be established for individual samples, serving as fingerprints. Comparison of these profiles serves to determine the effects of anthropogenic and natural processes upon petroleum and upon the environment.