Alex is Deputy Work Package Leader of NanoFASE WP5, under the direction of Ralf Kaëgi at EAWAG.
I am half German and half Greek and did my diploma studies at RWTH Aachen in Germany, where I focused specifically on environmental biology and chemistry. I did my diploma thesis in the soil protection group at ETH Zurich and then started a PhD in environmental analytical chemistry at ETH and Agroscope, which I finished in February 2015. In my PhD work I was working especially on novel methods to detect, quantify and characterize nanomaterials in complex (environmental) samples – or in other words: to look out for the "needle in the haystack" – which included many different techniques such as hyperspectral imaging microscopy and field-flow fractionation.
Now I work full time as a post-doctoral researcher on WP 5 within the NanoFASE project at EAWAG in Dübendorf, Switzerland. And again, I enjoy the search for the "needle in the haystack" – this time in sewage sludge as well as its ashes and pyrolysis products. My goal in this part of NanoFASE is to provide transfer coefficients for different nanomaterials in different stages of waste management as well as to characterize possible transformation products that are formed during the respective waste treatment processes. To do this, we set up a pilot scale waste water treatment plant, where we produce nanoparticle-enriched sludge that will be incinerated or pyrolyzed afterwards. samples.In addition, in collaboration with WP8, I investigate transformation reactions that take place in wastewater treatment (i.e. the sulfidation of copper oxide nanoparticles) in controlled batch experiments, to provide a better understanding of the kinetics of this reaction as well as underlying reaction mechanisms. The first results of this research were recently published in the journal Environmental Science:Nano and right now, we take it to the next stage and investigate the influence of different wastewater relevant organic coatings on this reaction.
As a deputy work package leader, I also coordinate the organizational issues within the work package, including teleconference meetings with different partners and the reporting of the work package.
When I don’t take pictures of nanoparticles, I also like to photograph our macroscopic world – especially, when hiking through the Swiss mountain side or travelling through other interesting places. Occasionally, I also shed some light into caves, listen to a lot of music and last but not least: now share a lot of time with my little son Paul, (re-)exploring the world with him and my wife.