Sample preparation is considered to be the most difficult step in analytic workflow. Current methods for extraction and separation of minute substances in liquid samples are laborious, time-consuming, often involve large amounts of toxic organic solvents, and are often difficult to automatize, implying high costs of man-power. An innovative sample preparation technique which has the potential to overcome these shortcomings will be developed in this project. Based on the first promising results in the ERC-AdG project DDD, we propose a surface nanodroplet-based sensing approach for liquid-liquid extraction and online analysis of traces of analytes in aqueous solutions, including in biomedical, health, pharmaceutical and environmental contexts. The basis of our approach, referred to as nanoextraction, will be surface nanodroplets pre-formed on a substrate within a microflow channel. The principle of the nanoextraction is that the partition coefficient of the compound in the droplets is much higher than in the sample solution. The compound in the flow will thus be extracted to the nanodroplets that are immobilized on the channel walls. The concentration of the compound in the droplets will be quantified by surface-sensitive spectroscopic techniques. Our proposed approach can potentially achieve extraction-separation-detection of analytes at extremely low concentrations in one single and simple step. The ability to achieve extraction-separation- detection of micropollutants in one single step is creating new and unique market opportunities which we want to explore. First, the technology can improve the state-of-the-art solutions in current markets, because of the easy usage and the small scale, thus saving time and costs. Second, we foresee new markets for the method, due to the higher sensitivity and point-of-care character of the solution. Our final goal in this project is to create a solid and investor-ready business plan, supported by a prototype.
The project will examine the histories of yoga, ayurveda and rasashastra (Indian alchemy and iatrochemistry) from the tenth century to the present, focussing on the disciplines' health, rejuvenation and longevity practices. The goals of the project are to reveal the entanglements of these historical traditions, and to trace the trajectories of their evolution as components of today's global healthcare and personal development industries. Our hypothesis is that practices aimed at achieving health, rejuvenation and longevity constitute a key area of exchange between the three disciplines, preparing the grounds for a series of important pharmaceutical and technological innovations and also profoundly influencing the discourses of today's medicalized forms of globalized yoga as well as of contemporary institutionalized forms of ayurveda and rasashastra. Drawing upon the primary historical sources of each respective tradition as well as on fieldwork data, the research team will explore the shared terminology, praxis and theory of these three disciplines. We will examine why, when and how health, rejuvenation and longevity practices were employed; how each discipline’s discourse and practical applications relates to those of the others; and how past encounters and cross-fertilizations impact on contemporary health-related practices in yogic, ayurvedic and alchemists’ milieus. The five-year project will be based at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at Vienna University and carried out by an international team of 3 post-doctoral researchers. The research will be grounded in the fields of South Asian studies and social history. An international workshop and an international conference will be organized to present and discuss the research results, which will also be published in peer-reviewed journals, an edited volume, and in individual monographs. A project website will provide open access to all research results.