Most biological and environmental materials require a substantial amount of pretreatment (e.g. solid-liquid extraction, 'wet chemical' separations, derivatization) before the complex mixtures of organic components contained within them are in a state suitable for analysis. The question of provision for such preparative procedures is an important subject that should be addressed by prospective users at the point of application (see Application procedure). A key aspect of the facility is the training of researchers in the techniques and ancillary processes needed to analyse their samples. Successful applicants are encouraged to visit the laboratory and become involved in the preparation and analysis of their own samples. This has proven to be a popular choice for previous users of the facility and reduces the overall costs associated with an application.
This 'hands-on' approach enables researchers (PhD students, PDRAs, research officers, academics) to gain valuable experience and training working in one of the UK's premier chemistry departments. In addition to instruction in laboratory techniques, the facility team is available to provide instruction in the use and operation of the high-end instruments maintained by the facility. One of the core aims in providing training is that the user gains an understanding of the methodologies and instrumentation that they are using thereby dispelling any 'black box' notions of the services provided. This arrangement also provides the opportunity for instruction and advice in data processing techniques and aspects of interpretation.
In preparing and running samples it is important to recognise that many of the laboratory procedures may at first be unfamiliar, especially if you do not have a background in chemical analysis, and therefore sufficient time should be given for any visit. To discuss time issues related to training please contact a member of the facility team.