CERNESIM » L3. Laboratory for investigation of atmospheric physico-chemical processes and testing new environmental gaseous pollutants destruction technologies

L3. Laboratory for investigation of atmospheric physico-chemical processes and testing new environmental gaseous pollutants destruction technologies


Prof. PhD Romeo-Iulian OLARIU – Director of the CERNESIM Center


phone: +40 232 201354

The main purpose of this laboratory is to establish the relationship between pollutant emissions and air quality. This is done using a reaction chamber in which the atmospheric conditions specific to the regions in Romania are simulated. This reaction chamber has a volume of about 760 L, and the solar radiation is simulated by using germicidal UV lamps (λmax = 254 nm) and “black-light” lamps (λmax = 365 nm).

The reaction chamber contains a multiple reflection White mirrors system (mounted on the flanges that seal the ends of the reactor) coupled with an FT-IR spectrometer which thus allows the determination “in situ” of the reactants and products. The front and terminal flanges of the reactor are provided with systems for the introduction of reactants and gases, as well as with measuring instruments for temperature, humidity and pressure. The reaction chamber is provided with two fans, for homogenization of the mixture, one on the front side flange and one on the ring joining two quartz tubes. In order to evacuate the gas mixture, the reactor is equipped with a pump system, which ensures a vacuum of approx. 10-3 mbar.

For monitoring other indicators, the reaction chamber can be connected to several analytical systems, through special valves, with the following analytical instruments: LIF, GC-FID, GC-MS, HPLC, actinometers for J (O3), J (O1D) and J (NO2), monitors for measuring and counting O3, NO, NO2, NOx. In addition, the reaction chamber is provided with a system for drying and purifying the air necessary to fill the chamber, in particular for the removal of NOy-type compounds and non-methane hydrocarbons. All these analytical tools are controlled and monitored by an internal computer network. This laboratory is coordinated by researchers from the Faculties of Chemistry and Physics of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi.

The laboratory for physico-chemical studies of the atmosphere consists of three specific work components, as follows:

  • atmospheric chemistry component that investigates the behavior of specific gaseous pollutants, in atmospheric conditions specific to the North-Eastern region (humidity, temperature, NOx, actinic flux).
  • the component of environmentally friendly technologies testing for the destruction of gaseous pollutants specific to the North-Eastern region.
  • atmospheric physics component testing new instruments with applicability in industry (new sensors for monitoring gaseous pollutants).

The main research topics carried out in this laboratory are:

  • the impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCS) on tropospheric chemistry.
  • air pollution and estimating the impact of VOCS on oxidizing species in the troposphere, the nitrogen cycle and on the climate.
  • studies on changes induced by anthropogenic factor on the oxidative power of the atmosphere, the chemical composition of aerosols and their influence on climate.
  • kinetic studies in the gas phase.
  • study of pollutants using new methodologies for investigation at both regional and national level and for the development of new ecological technologies for pollutants destruction.
  • conducting experiments on the efficiency of destruction with the help of discharges at atmospheric pressure for various toxic products (VOCs, NOx, SO2, etc.).
  • preparation and testing of gas sensor made of semiconductor materials (in particular oxide semiconductors – SnO2, Bi2O3, TiO2), metals, alloys and metallic compounds, organic compounds (different classes, low molecular weight compounds and polymers), as well as composites in thin layers, by investigating the electrical, optical, photoelectric, photoluminescence, structural characteristics depending on the concentration of pollutant.
  • obtaining functional structures of pollutant gas sensors with thin layers (semiconductors, metals, composites).

At European level, there are several research centers and universities that deal with physico-chemical studies of the atmosphere, of which the best known are:

  • EUPHORE Chamber, within the CEAM – Valencia Center (Spain)
  • Bergische University – Wuppertal (Germany)
  • University College Cork (Ireland)
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany)
  • CNRS- Laboratoire de Combustion et Systèmes Réactifs (LCSR) – Orléans (France)