Professor Grassian and her team are researching a particular aspect of the indoor atmosphere – the interaction between glass and the types of organic compounds found in indoor environments. They have focused in particular on limonene – the chemical found in the peel of citrus fruits, and also used in household cleaners and air fresheners. They have looked at how limonene interacts with glass, how strong the interaction is, and whether limonene can "unstick" and go back into the gas phase.
"I and my older daughter are both asthmatic", says Professor Grassian. "Smoke and other triggers of asthma indoors has caused trips to the emergency room. Understanding what is in the air we breathe is important to everyone but especially important for people with asthma and other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"Overall, we are interested in unravelling the processes at the molecular scale on the role of surfaces in indoor environments, and ultimately using these details in air quality models."
This article is free to read in our open access, flagship journal Chemical Science: Douglas Tobias, Manabu Shiraiwa, Vicki Grassian et al., Chem. Sci., 2019, Accepted Manuscript. DOI: 10.1039/C8SC05560B. You can access our 2019 ChemSci Picks in this article collection.