TACKLING THE FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGES IN SEPARATION SCIENCE
In recent decades, the chemistry and technology communities have made rapid advances in separation science and technology. To take advantage of advances in experimental techniques, data science, and computation and simulation, key fundamental challenges in separation science must be addressed.
Chemical separations are invaluable processes that underpin diverse chemical transformations. Virtually every product that people use depends on efficient chemical separations. Designing separations that have high capacity, selectivity, throughput and understanding temporal changes that occur in separation systems are the two major challenges. The ability to make molecules and assemblies of molecules that have the desired functional properties is necessary to advance separation science and there are synthesis challenges with making new materials in a form that can be used in a separation system. The importance of synthesis for many disciplines is clearly recognized, as seen in the exploration of the topic by funding and research communities. Additive manufacturing might offer new opportunities to produce structured adsorbents, especially membranes that have improved performance. Standardized systems of materials and testing protocols for separation science and the exploitation of data science to extract new knowledge and insights from large complex datasets are the cross cutting topics.
Selectivity, capacity, and throughput are arguably the key defining features of separation processes, so developing fundamental approaches that improve performance in these factors lies at the heart of separation science. Many pressing fundamental research issues are associated with the robustness of separation systems. The diversity and complexity of materials and processes that can be used in chemical separations are both signs of the opportunities and a challenge to the research community. The importance of data reproducibility is relevant in all fields of scientific research; separation science is no exception. In principle, data science has the potential to accelerate progress in all aspects of chemical separations. Initial efforts have been made, but the use of data-science methods in chemical separations is nascent at best.
Chemical separations are entering an era in which fundamental advances will be possible. In broad terms, this fertile intellectual landscape will include challenges associated with the intrinsic characteristics of separations and challenges associated with the evolution of separation systems during use. There are large gaps in both areas, and progress in both will be critical for major advances in the field. The difficulties of understanding and controlling the phenomena that appear in complex chemical environments and in situations that span large dynamic ranges should become defining features of fundamental work in chemical separations.
The Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques aims to disseminate knowledge and promote discussion through the publication of peer-reviewed, high quality research papers on novel methods which help to address these challenges in the separation science. The Journal is a refereed, academic, open-access journal which aims to provide a scholarly platform for critical and informed articles related to separation science. Every effort is made to have a quality, rigorous, critical peer-review and rapid publishing process.
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Associate Managing Editor
Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques