From March 22 to 25, 2023, the summer school on “Sustainable nanosensors for water pollution detection” was organized by the University of Tirana in the frame of the SUSNANO project. Aiming to maximize results and achievements, this activity was organized in cooperation with the Unit of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NanoAlb), next Academy of Sciences of Albania.
The main participants of the Summer School were 1st and 2nd-year M.Sc. students studying Chemistry at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and PhD students with research interests in the field of sensors development and application. Additionally, several young researchers from other institutions were invited based on the results of the online applications through the SUSNANO project website.
The invited lecturers addressed topics related to the preparation and application of electrochemical sensors, as well as the topic of nanomaterial characterization which can be used as modifiers during new classes of sensors with better analytical performance.
Prof. Michal Otyepka and Dr. Petr Jakubec from the CATRIN Institute at Palacky University, Czech Republic, held lectures on graphene and its derivatives based on fluorographene chemistry, as important components in the development and application of smart electrochemical sensors as well as other applications related to energy conservation.
Prof. Arben Merkoci from the Center of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Barcelona (ICN2), Spain, held lectures on the mechanism of operation of electrochemical nanobiosensors for environmental applications, but also for other diagnostic purposes.
Prominent professors from the University of Pristina, Kosovo, and the University of Tetovo, North Macedonia, both members of the NanoAlb groups, were invited to the Summer School, having long-term expertise in the field of sensors and biosensors.
The invited Professors gave a series of lectures:
Prof. Fetah Podvorica (University of Pristina) - Preparation of sensors based on surface modifications of electrodes.
Prof. Imer Sadriu (University of Pristina) - New method of preparation of highly selective sensors based on the MIP (Molecular Imprinting Sensors), applied for pesticide determination.
Prof. Liridon Berisha (University of Prishtina) - New and simple method for the development of paper-based sensors in the field of designing and applying devices based on microfluidic processes on paper.
Prof. Arianit Reka (University of Tetovo) - Characterization techniques based on the X-ray diffractometer, a lecture in an interactive way by inviting the students to practice the identification of spectra recorded in advance by Prof. Arianite.
In addition to the afternoon lectures, several laboratory sessions were led by Dr. Ruslan Alvarez from ICN2 and Prof. Liridon Berisha from Pristina:
Dr. Ruslan Alvarez brought some simple equipment and demonstrated to the students the simple way of preparing printed graphene oxide electrodes based on the use of laser radiation. The printed electrodes were tested in the classroom regarding their electrochemical behaviour using the redox couple Fe+3/Fe+2.
Prof. Liridon demonstrated the integration of digital imaging technology with microfluidic processes in a paper for the analytical determination of iron. He involved all participants in the class to apply it as an alternative analytical method to classical ones.
The participants visited several laboratories of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, which are equipped with a scientific infrastructure and good and contemporary scientific activity, such as the Solid State Physics Laboratory, the Organic Analysis Laboratory, Laboratory of Biotechnology, Laboratory of Biology, Laboratory of Processes. The Laboratory of Sensors and Biosensors in the Department of Chemistry, which is part of the SUSNANO Project, was also visited. In the framework of this project, this laboratory has been equipped with some new and necessary equipment in the field of development of electrochemical sensors such as Potentiostat/Galvanostat, FTIR-Alfa-II and a modern device for printing electrochemical sensors from the SonoPlot Company.
During the second day of the School, a visit was organized to the park of Bovilla, where all participants, students and lecturers visited the drinking water plant in Bovilla for the city of Tirana. Specific issues related to the in situ monitoring of natural water systems were also discussed during this monitoring visit.
The school's activities were under the special care of the University of Tirana and the NanoAlb Unit - Academy of Sciences. The hospitality and commitment of all project staff at the University of Tirana and NanoAlb were at the best level. The University of Tirana organized a welcome dinner for all participants, lecturers and students, which helped to strengthen friendship and cooperation between partners. A visit to the "Bardha" Winery, near Tirana was also organized with the project partners.
At the end of the school, the lecturers were awarded certificates for their contribution to the SUSNANO Summer School, while the students were provided with certificates for successfully completing the school's program.