Dr. F. (Florian) Meirer

Dr. F. (Florian) Meirer

Universitair hoofddocent
Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis
06 22 736 338
f.meirer@uu.nl

X-ray Microscopy and Spectroscopy

My research focuses on developing and applying spectro-microscopic techniques to obtain insights about nanoscale processes, which is critical towards understanding how advanced functional materials operate. Most advanced functional devices are composed of multiple phases in the form of hierarchical structures, and their distribution and interplay determines the materials properties. Because these hierarchies are assembled at scales larger than a few nanometers, tools that can probe multiple levels of complexity are required. The main challenges for probing hierarchically structured materials are therefore to inspect a large field of view with sufficient spatial resolution while obtaining chemical information. Ideally the analysis is carried out in-situ or even using operando conditions, studying advanced functional materials under realistic working conditions.

X-ray spectro-microscopy in combination with x-ray tomography is one of the methods able to tackle most of the above mentioned challenges. Its flexibility in terms of harsh working conditions (e.g. high pressures or temperatures) and easy sample preparation makes it an invaluable tool for studying various functional materials. Examples of my work range from studies of catalyst materials (fluid catalytic cracking, Fischer–Tropsch synthesis) to battery electrode materials, or the analysis of roman pottery aiming for the recovery of lost ancient ceramic technology. 

Specific research interests

  • X-ray spectroscopy, especially:
    • X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS, XANES, EXAFS)
    • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy/spectrometry (XRF)
    • Special geometries for XRF and XAS experiments; e.g. x-ray total reflection (TXRF), grazing incidence (GI), and grazing exit (GE) geometry
    • X-ray reflectometry (XRR)
  • 2D and 3D X-ray imaging, especially:
    • Micro/Nano-XRF and micro/nano-XAS
    • Tomography
    • Full field transmission x-ray microscopy (TXM); especially elemental imaging, TXM-XANES, and phase contrast imaging
  • Multivariate analysis of large spectroscopic datasets
  • Ab initio calculations for x-ray absorption spectroscopy; especially using wien2k (XANES) and JFEFF (EXAFS)
Projecten
Project
AURORA: Actionable eUropean ROadmap for early-life health Risk Assessment of micro- and nanoplastics 01-04-2021 tot 31-03-2026
Algemene projectbeschrijving

The scale of micro- and nanoplastic (MNP) pollution is becoming increasingly clear yet little is known about how this pollution impacts health. The AURORA project will deliver an actionable European roadmap for early-life health risk assessment of MNPs to support regulation of MNPs and the products and processes that generate secondary MNPs, and development of safer alternatives. We will focus on MNP exposures and toxicological and health effects during pregnancy, in utero, and in early life. These periods are critical for development and health later in life and are of heightened vulnerability to environmental insults. We have recently shown that MNPs are likely to cross the placental barrier in vitro and in vivo, underlying the urgent need to understand the impact of MNPs on reproductive and early-life health. AURORA will do so by significantly enhancing exposure assessment capabilities for measuring MNPs and MNP-associated chemicals (e.g. additives) in tissues relevant for early-life development (placenta, cord blood, amniotic fluid, meconium, fetal tissue). It will take a unique approach by combining in-depth characterization methods (microscopy and spectroscopy) and scalable methods (mass-spectrometry) to develop methods for both detailed and large-scale toxicological, exposure assessment, and epidemiological studies. This will be combined with a novel tiered-testing approach and epidemiological investigations to provide the first extensive evaluation of maternal and fetal MNP exposures and health perturbations, including placental function, immune-inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, accelerated aging, endocrine disruption, and child development. In the course of developing and applying the tools and methodological workflows of the AURORA research program, we will create a risk assessment framework specific to MNPs and identify the remaining knowledge gaps and priorities needed for comprehensively evaluating the impact of MNPs on early-life health. AURORA is part of the European MNP cluster on human health.

Rol
Promotor & uitvoerder
Financiering
3e geldstroom - EU Horizon 2020 (Grant no. 964827)
Project
POLYRISK: Risks of microplastic and nanoplastic particles 01-04-2021 tot 31-03-2025
Algemene projectbeschrijving

From childhood to old age, we all come in contact with plastic products on a daily basis, in the living environment and food chain. Our plastic products are a source of plastic fragments, tiny particles generally invisible to the naked eye. How many of these plastic particles are actually being absorbed into our bodies via inhalation and ingestion? Could tiny micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNP) inside our bodies be having a negative impact on human health?

The EU-funded POLYRISK project explores these questions by examining human exposure to MNP and their potential toxic effects. POLYRISK considers occupational and consumer exposure and puts a special emphasis on potential adverse effects of MNP on the immune system.

Rol
Promotor & uitvoerder
Financiering
2e geldstroom - NWO Horizon 2020 (Grant no. 964766)
Project
Nanoplastics: Origin, Structure and Fate 01-09-2020 tot 31-08-2025
Algemene projectbeschrijving

Troubling images, showcasing the large amount of plastic litter that contaminates our waters and threatens wildlife, have become a regular focus of the popular media. Not everyone realizes that we cannot account for a very large fraction of the plastic that escapes into the ocean. A significant portion of this “missing plastic” is hypothesized to result from the degradation of plastics and are named nanoplastics. A multidisciplinary team will now use a breakthrough approach to investigate the formation, presence, and distribution of nanoplastics in aquatic environments. We will study size, structure, and composition of nanoplastics, their transport across the ocean, as well as their interplay with and impact on the Earth’s aquatic microbiome. The reactivity of nanoplastics will also be assessed, allowing to investigate potential degradation pathways, including those involving microbial interactions.

Rol
Promotor & onderzoeksleider
Financiering
2e geldstroom - NWO The Nanoplastics: Origin, Structure and Fate project is funded through an NWO ENW Groot grant