Introductory_Meeting_with_EACH_and_AMS_Students_2017This week was the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 23 students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are Vietnam, Philippines, Hungary, Serbia, Nepal, China, Hong Kong, Georgia, Romania, Mexico, Indonesia, Venezuela, Pakistan and Turkey. During the introductory meeting an overview of the programme was given (see the slides) and a large number of questions were asked and answered, accompanied by tea/coffee and cake.

We wish successful studies to all new students!


EACH_Defence_Lyon_2017On September 7, 2017 the second master thesis defence session in the history of the EACH programme took place at University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL)! Aleksandra Lelevic, Gaurav Bhardwaj, Huian Liu, Marko Jovanovic, Oleksandra Burakhovska, Olivier Etebe Nonga, Rudolf Aro and Tetiana Melnyk successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern analytical problems (top-down LC-MS proteomics, industrial process control with gas chromatography and Raman spectrometry, accurate moisture measurement in solids, FT-IR analysis of plasticizers in concrete, etc). The majority of the theses were performed in collaboration with industry. This choice of topics and the long-standing industrial collaboration is rooted in the world-famous industrial analysis and control study direction at UCBL led by prof. Jérôme Randon.

At a small cosy drink after the defence students shared their memories of the study period in Lyon. The students were generally very happy about their study track. They praised especially the long and serious placement in industry, which taught them a wide range of useful skills and enabled establishing many contacts. Students also spoke about their future plans. Several of them have already secured jobs/positions.

On photo from the left: Marko, Jerome (academic coordinator at Lyon), Oleksandra, Olivier, Huian, Aleksandra, Rudolf, Gaurav (Tetiana unfortunately had to leave earlier).


Anu_Teearu_Kristjan_HaavThis is the range of topics addressed on Aug 16, 2017 as PhD dissertations addressing these topics were defended at UT Institute of Chemistry.


Anu_Teearu_presenting_her_PhD_ThesisAnu Teearu (left on the photo) in her thesis titled Development of MALDI-FT-ICR-MS methodology for the analysis of resinous materials addressed the analysis of resinous materials in order to obtain the maximum amount of high-accuracy data from these complex materials. Several important methodological developments (novel calibrants, novel matrix materials, etc) were introduced to MALDI-FT-ICR-MS and its capabilities were assessed during the analysis of three case study samples originating from different types of cultural heritage objects.


Kristja_Haav_presenting_his_PhD_ThesisThe central aim of the thesis of Kristjan Haav Quantitative relative equilibrium constants measurements in supramolecular chemistry was development of highly accurate binding constant measurement methods. The key development was measuring relative equilibrium constants instead of absolute ones, which enables eliminating or strongly reducing the influence on several error sources. Kristjan tested the applicability of this approach on two instrumental techniques: UV-vis spectrophotometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (NMR). Comparison of the two – completely independent – techniques showed good agreement between the obtained results and thus supports the reliability of both of them.

Kristjan Haav is an alumnus of the Applied Measurement Science programme.

UT_Students_at_ASC_Summer_School_Druskininkai_2017On Saturday 22.07.2017 The MSC Euromaster Summer School 2017 (Druskininkai, Lithuania) finished. Extensive learning programme combined with a lot of fun, meeting new people and sharing experience. The feedback from some of the UT participants is below and it indicates that the Summer School was again a success!





Malika Beishanova (Kazakhstan) (photo: taking a water sample for analysis):
MSC Summer School was as much useful as it was fun. The study program was intensive and allowed to review and apply what we have learnt at the EACH program in Tartu as well as gain new knowledge and experience. The two weeks were packed with activities and time flew by so fast. The school is truly international, and the atmosphere extremely friendly. I enjoyed a lot!


Nguyen Duc Khanh Tho



Duc Khan Tho Nguyen (Vietnam) (photo: during lab visit):
It was an excellent summer school ever with so much fun and a lot of works as well. It brought me not only great chance to learn more about Metrology in Analytical Chemistry but also interesting practical works. Our door activities and the trips to different laboratories were also the amazing time. Two weeks passed by in a blink of an eye, but it was just a beginning for the lifetime friendship we have made with so many interesting people. I would like to give a big thank to professor Ivo, professor Philip and all lecturers for providing us such a great opportunity.

Thi Duong Bui


Thi Duong Bui (Vietnam) (Photo: group work presentation):
MSC- Summer School 2017 in Druskininkai, Lithuania was the unique and special experience for me. It was a precious chance to practice and revise the knowledge that professor Ivo Leito taught us during the Metrology in Chemistry course and to have a deeper understanding in Metrology and Measurement.
The MSC- Summer School 2017 was far better than what I expected with intensive courses, group works, and individual works. Besides that, I had a really good time with friends from different countries from all over the world, we had great excursions to nature, explored Vilnius, Druskininkai, had fun in the Aqua Park, etc.
Thank you for giving me a good opportunity to participate in the Summer School.

Emeka Emecheta



Emeka Ephraim Emecheta (Nigeria):
I now feel quite confident as an Analytical chemist having fully participated in this practical oriented programme. I achieved beyond my expectations. However, am earnestly greatful to UT for equipping me with the underlying knowledge about Analytical Measurement which apparently gave me strong advantage during this programme.


Jay Pee Ona MSC Summer School





Jay Pee Oña (Philippines):
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity to join the Summer school. It has been an amazing learning experience for me. I was able to meet a fellow Filipino there and I was thinking that since we have the materials we could partner up to open the topic of metrology to a wider audience back at home. Again my sincerest thanks for this opportunity!


The 2018 MSC Summer school will take place in Estonia.



MSC_Summer_School_2017During 9-22 July 2017 the 10th MSC Euromaster summer school in Druskinkai, (Lithuania, 130 km from the capital Vilnius).

As in previous years, a core aim of the Summer school is shifting the activities away from the classical lecture-type of teaching by increasing the share of discussions, hands-on work, teamwork. A key activity of the summer school is the contest of student teams (setting up virtual laboratories and interacting with customers), which tests their knowledge and skills in all areas of metrology in chemistry.

Five students from University of Tartu take part in the summer school. Four students are from the EACH programme: Thi Duong Bui, Duc Khan Tho Nguyen, Malika Beishanova, Jay Pee Oña. One student, Emeka Ephraim Emecheta is from the AMS programme.

We wish exciting and enjoyable Summer school to all participants!

(Photo: Philip Taylor)


EACH_Master_Thesis_Defence_at_Uppsala_2017On June 26, 2017 the first master thesis defence in the history of the EACH programme took place at Uppsala University! Monika Kish, Cenyi Li, Nikola Radoman, Rabin Neupane, Ru Fang, Sandy Abujrais and Santosh Acharya successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern biomed- and environmental analytical problems (LC-MS analysis of aggregates of antibody drug conjugates, quantification of peptide drugs, analysis of dissolved organic matter in natural waters, etc). All of them featured the use of highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation, such as high-resolution MS, liquid-handling robots, etc. This choice of topics is rooted in the world-famous biomedical analysis research direction at Uppsala University led by prof. Jonas Bergquist.

(On photo from the left: Jonas, Sandy, Monika, Ivo, Santosh, Ru, Nikola, Cenyi, Rabin)


Leito_LCMS_Validation_EuroMS_2017On 21.06.17 Ivo Leito gave a talk titled Review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry methods at the Euro Mass Spectrometry 2017 meeting (London, UK). The talk focused on the two-part Tutorial review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods

as well as on the related on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation and the ValChrom validation software.

The reception of this talk was one of the warmest during the meeting! Several participants came later to say words of thank for offering such a valuable resource to the LC-MS community. There were also some interesting ideas proposed regarding topics that could be covered in the online course. LC-MS and MiC issues, such as validation, are among core competences of the UT Analytical Chemistry research group. The tutorial review, the on-line course, as well as the ValChrom software together form a nice outcome of joining these competences together.

Concerning the topics of the meeting in general, they were remarkably diverse and not so heavily dominated by biomedical MS as is often the case at mass spectrometry meetings. Interesting presentations were given on gas-phase ion processes, different laser techniques in MS (e.g. for analysis of solids without sample preparation), advanced catalysis studies by MS, LC-ICP-DRC-MS for trace element speciation, the possibility of making a high-end LC-HRMS system an “open access” system within an organization, etc.


Irja_Helm_Conducting_Dissolved_Oxygen_Measurement_Training_in_UruguayDuring Jun 12-16, 2017 research fellow Irja Helm from University of Tartu, Institute of Chemistry is conducting a training session on high-accuracy dissolved oxygen measurement in Montevideo (Uruguay). The local organiser of the training is LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay). There are 8 participants in the training, from Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru.

The training is centered around the high-accuracy Winkler titration method of dissolved oxygen concentration measurement that Irja developed during her PhD study: I. Helm, L. Jalukse, I. Leito “A highly accurate method for determination of dissolved oxygen: Gravimetric Winkler method” Analytica Chimica Acta 2012, 741, 21–31. The training is interesting in the sense that most of it is carried out in laboratory, where participants do measurements hands-on. The experimental setup was assembled jointly by LATU and by Irja. The practical orientation is well in line with the main purpose of the training – to introduce the high-accuracy Winkler method to the reference laboratories in the participant countries.

The training is organised in the framework of the project „Regional Quality Infrastructure Fund for Biodiversity and Climate Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean“ (VH-No.: 95094) coordinated by PTB (Germany).

(Photo: Irja Helm, on the left, together with training participants in laboratory)


University of TartuIn a recent ranking of world universities by QS, one of the world’s leading compilers of university performance ratings, the University of Tartu scored a high 314. place (up by 33 places from the last year) and maintains the highest rank among Estonian and Baltic universities.

Out of the criteria used by QS the improvement was especially strong in the category “Employer reputation”: up by 90 places from the last year. The criteria “Faculty student ratio”, “Number of international students” and “Research” also improved. Considering that there are around 26 000 universities in the world, this result places UT within the best 1.2% universities in the world!


Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 18, 2017 the MOOC Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 363 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016) from 69 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). The significantly lower number of participants is understandably due to the fact that this year for the first time the certificate on paper was not free of charge. 219 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 148 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016). The overall completion rate was 41% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 68% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016). The completion rates of participants who actually started the course are nicely consistent over the years and can be considered very good for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. These were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and the overall number of posts to them during the course period reached beyond 300 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2018.


EACH_AMS_Master_Seminar_Spring_2017Today on Sat 20.05.17 the concluding event of the joint master seminar of the EACH and AMS programmes took place. Its main activities were the feedback session on employability from Prof. Salzer (TU Dresden) and concluding the Group work of helping a water production company to choose, which analytical technique to implement in their lab for analysis of trace elements in drinking water according to the EC directive 98/83/EC Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption.

Prof. Salzer gave feedback on the CVs and motivation letters that the students wrote according to the guidance given by him earlier this week. He praised the group and gave, on the example of CVs and motivation letters of students, a number of good hints for improvements.

The above mentioned group work has been going on since the beginning of the semester and its essence is that students are divided into groups and each group is a small consultation company that intends to guide a water production plant, as to which trace element technique to implement in their lab, taking into account the amount of water produced, the corresponding required number of samples per year according to 98/83/EC, the cost of the equipment, the running costs, etc. The groups had to justify their recommendations. The groups did well and came up with different suggestions: GFAAS (together with CVAAS), ICP-OES (together with voltammetry) and ICP-MS.
Both of these activities are expected also for future seminars of these prorammes.


Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

On May 02, 2017, the first day of the Technart 2017 conference (Bilbao, Spain) doctoral student Pilleriin Peets from UT Analytical Chemistry group made a presentation Identification and classification of textile fibres using ATR‐FT‐IR spectroscopy with chemometric methods (Photo on the left).

The presentation outlines the recent results by Pilleriin in creating the method for quick, easy and non-destructive classification and semi-quantitative analysis of textiles using ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy combined with chemometric data analysis methods.

She investigated altogether 89 individual textile materials – Wool, Silk, Cotton, Linen, Cellulose acetate, Lyocell/Tenzel, Viscose, Polyester fibre, Polyamide fibre, Polyacrylic fibre, Elastane and their different combinations – and created a discrimination/classification model using principal component analysis (Image on the right).

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

As a side-product of this work, a collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra of textile materials containing one or two different fibres was composed and is deposited in the Supplementary data of the paper that she recently published: P. Peets et al. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 2017, 173, 175–181.

This collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra helps to identify different kind of single- and two-component mixed textiles.

Technart conference series is a premier scientific forum dedicated to applying analytical techniques in the field of art and cultural heritage.



Awards2017-Website&Facebook-share-1200x630On the 5th of April 2017 the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field.

Among the 29 laureates (from 18 countries) is also the Rode Altarpiece Research and Conservation Project (research category) of the high altar of St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn.

The project was coordinated by Dr. Hilkka Hiiop from the Art Museum of Estonia. This project also involves several scientists from the chair of analytical chemistry at the University of Tartu, among them Dr. Signe Vahur and her student Krete Saak, and Dr. Riin Rebane, who carried out a thorough material analysis.

The Award Ceremony will be held in Turku, Finland on the 15th of May 2017. During the ceremony, in addition to seven Grand Prix laureates also the Public Choice Award winner will be announced. Everyone has a chance to vote for 3 of their favourite projects, and thereby enter a draw to win a trip for two to Turku and take part in the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 15th of May. The deadline for casting your votes is the 3rd of May, 2017.

Further information on the project can be found on the web page: Rode Altarpiece in Close-up.


CreativeEuropeLogo Europa NostraLogo









UT_Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Participants_2017On Monday, March 27, 2017 the web course “Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was launched the third time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course).

Currently 336 participants from 62 countries are registered. The somewhat decreased popularity of the course is most probably due to the fact that starting from this year certificate of completion on paper is not free of charge (digital certificate is still free). Given this change, we are actually surprised that we still have so many participants! Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from. As in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories, once again demonstrating the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation in analytical chemistry.

The full course material is accessible from the web page Some developments and improvements have been made to the course material, in particular, better description of course organisatsion a self-test on sophisticated uncertainty estimation taking numerically into account the limited selectivity of the technique (potentiometry with ion-selective electrode). Some changes are still in the pipeline. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.


Measurement_Uncertainty_Value_Error_EtcThe online course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis will start its 4th edition on Monday, Mar 27, 2017. 300 participants have already been registered from 58 countries. Registration is still open and all people interested to learn this important topic are welcome to participate!

The registration link is available from the course website:


LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 16, 2017 the MOOC LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully.
Altogether 303 people were registered from 61 countries. 224 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 168 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 55%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 75%. Both completion rates are all time highest that our group has seen in our MOOCs!

The questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work and in several cases led to improvements in the course. This active participation made teaching this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers! The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2017.


This is a Golden Age of Measurement ScienceThe American Chemical Society (the world’s largest scientific society by membership!) has recently published a document titled Top Ten Trends Driving Science, which summarizes in an intelligent and engaging way the main processes and trends in the contemporary society that drive the scientific research. The explanations are supported by numerous quotes from leading scientists.

Of specific interest for our study programme is the trend No 2: Big data is more essential than ever, is which supported by quote from Jonathan Sweedler, Editor-in-Chief of Analytical Chemistry, stating among other things: This is a Golden Age of Measurement Science!

All the best wishes to all measurement scientists – both chemical and physical – everywhere in the world!


Pilleriin_PeetsAmong the analytical chemistry research directions at UT are studies of materials, especially materials with artistic and/or historic relevance. Textiles have a prominent place among these materials and the leading force of textile analysis in our group is PhD student Pilleriin Peets.

We have the pleasure to announce that her master’s thesis defended in June 2016 “Method development for textile dye analysis on the example of red dyes” was awarded with the 1st prize in the Estonian National Contest for University Students supported by Estonian Research Council. Congratulations, Pilleriin!
This very interesting and challenging master’s thesis involved development of methodologies using complementary techniques – FT-ICR-MS with ESI and MALDI sources, LC-QQQ-MS, SEM-EDS – for thoroughgoing investigation of composition of red dyes.

Natural dyes (extracted from plants and insects) are complex mixtures of sophisticated organic compounds and their chemical composition is still not fully known. Dyes can be divided into different groups (antraquinones, flavonoids etc) but within a group they can be quite similar. In order to fix dyes on fabrics mordants (alum, tannic acid etc) are commonly used. Identifying dyes and mordants in textiles is challenging: samples are very small, analyte concentrations are low, objects consist of many components (incl. impurities) and their decomposition products. So, accurate methods that can work with small amounts of sample and very low analyte contents in samples, are still needed.

Pilleriin_Peets_taking_textile_samplesDuring her master’s studies Pilleriin Peets managed to overcome all these difficulties and developed a useful methodology for dye analysis. At first Pilleriin collected different red dyes (madder, cochineal etc), dyed pure wool pieces and then extracted the dyes from dyed wool. During dyeing she adjusted different recipes and developed suitable dyeing procedure. After that she analysed all these dye standard solutions and fibre extracts, using HPLC-QQQ-MS, ESI- and MALDI-FT-ICR-MS methods and developed a suitable measurement methodology for every dye. Additionally, different mordants were analysed from known mordanted samples and unknown real samples using SEM-EDS. The developed methodology was applied to real samples from the Estonian National Museum and private collections (photo on the right: Pilleriin taking textile samples at the Estonian National Museum).

These developed methodologies are right now being extended to the analysis of other colours and dyes: Pillerin continues this investigation during her PhD studies and in the future there will be coming much more interesting research developments in this topic.

Pilleriin started with serious scientific research already in the bachelor’s studies: she developed an approach of classification of single- and two-component textile materials using ATR-FT-IR spectra and chemometric methods, principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis on the basis of altogether 89 textile samples belonging to 26 different types (11 one- and 15 two-component textiles). This work has been published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A 2017, 173, 175-181.


each-students-meeting-prof-fraser-stoddartOn Monday 12.12.2016 the 2nd year EACH students studying at Uppsala had the wonderful opportunity to meet Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, one of the three 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize laureates. The 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded for the contributions to design and synthesis of molecular machines.

On the photo Prof. Stoddart is in the middle of the second row. In the first row on the right is prof. Jonas Bergquist (the EACH coordinator at Uppsala) who organized the meeting.


UT_LC_MS_Validation_MOOC_Participants_2016On Monday, November 28, 2016 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the first time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 301 registered participants from 61 countries, ranging from Vietnam to Peru and from Norway to Zambia. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course follows the tradition set by the course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis launched in 2014. Differently from the uncertainty course, the LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full course material is accessible from the web page The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

It is planned to run this course as MOOC again in autumn 2017.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)