Our research is based on a comprehensive approach of analytical chemistry. In other words, our work covers the whole analytical process, from instrumental development and basic analytical research on the one hand to method development and direct analytical applications on the other hand. Instrumental innovations are achieved together with partners from engineering e.g. at Aalen University, specialized instrument manufacturers and companies which provide software for our new instruments. We favor a modular instrumental approach: the modular building blocks can flexibly be combined with regard to the respective analytical task in order to implement a broad range of different elements of chemical analysis (matrix separation, analyte preconcentration, separation and identification). Thus, a main part of our research is related to design, optimization and characterization of intelligent interfaces between the modules. The latter ones are based on different electromigrative separation techniques, which are combined in a new multidimensional approach. They are complemented by different detection platforms like mass spectrometry and on-chip fluorescence and conductivity detection.
The focus of our basic analytical research lies on different physicochemical aspects, amongst them separation mechanisms and molecular interactions. Our research provides insight into the analytical potential of our modular elements and enhances their ability to address concrete analytical questions in various disciplines within a broad range of different fields. All methods are designed to have a rather broad applicability. The high flexibility of our building block system and the deep knowledge of the basic effects which are involved in all fields of (bio)analytical research are emphasized by the fact that we are able to address very small organic molecules as well as very large biomolecules like intact proteins. At the same time, this enables various cooperative projects with partners from forensic science, biology, pharmacy, medicine, bioinformatics, geology, water science, environmental sciences and research on sustainable development.