Dr Mercedes Vázquez


Dr. Mercedes Vázquez is Assistant Professor in Analytical Chemistry at the School of Chemical Sciences, Dublin City University (DCU), since 2014. She is also a principal investigator at the National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR), DCU. She received her MSc in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Oviedo (Spain) in 1998. In 1999, she joined the Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry at Åbo Akademi University (Turku, Finland) as an ERASMUS exchange student, where she continued till obtaining her PhD from Åbo Akademi in 2005. During this period, she worked on the development of potentiometric ion sensors based on conducting polymers for various applications such as chemical process control and clinical analysis. In 2006, she took up a postdoctoral position within the Centre for Bioanalytical Sciences (CBAS) at DCU, where she primarily focused on the development of analytical methods and technologies for the rapid screening of very complex media in biopharmaceutical processes. She then joined the Irish Separation Science Cluster (ISSC), DCU, in 2009, where she coordinated a research program focused on the development of novel microfluidic platforms for a wide range of (bio)analytical applications, including biotechnology and environmental analysis.

Research Expertise

PhD Students

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Select Publications

Influence of oxygen and carbon dioxide on the electrochemical stability of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) used as ion-to-electron transducer in all-solid-state ion-selective electrodes
  Mercedes Vázquez, Johan Bobacka, Ari Ivaska, Andrzej Lewenstam      2002      Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Ionic substances with melting points at or close to room temperature are referred to as ionic liquids. Interest in ionic liquids for their potential in different chemical processes is increasing, because they are environmentally benign and are good solvents for a wide range of both organic and inorganic materials. In this study, a capillary electrophoretic method for resolving phenolic compounds found in grape seed extracts is reported. The method, in which 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium-based ionic liquids are used as the running electrolytes, is simple and reproducible. The separation mechanism seems to involve association between the imidazolium cations and the polyphenols. The role of the alkyl substituents on the imidazolium cations was investigated and will be discussed.

The electrochemical stability of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) is studied in view of its use as ion-to-electron transducer (solid contact) in all-solid-state ion-selective electrodes (ISEs). PEDOT is electrochemically deposited on glassy carbon (GC) and the resulting GC/PEDOT electrodes are studied by cyclic voltammetry(CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and potentiometry. Valinomycin-based all-solid-state K+-ISEs are constructed by placing a K+-selective poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC)-based membrane on the GC/PEDOT electrode (solid contact). The influence of dissolved O2 and CO2 on the potential of the GC/PEDOT electrodes and of all-solid-state K+-ISEs is studied. PEDOT is compared with polypyrrole(PPy) as the solid contact material. A significant difference between the two conducting polymers (CPs) is that PEDOT is less sensitive to O2 and CO2 (pH) than PPy. Therefore, PEDOT is a promising new candidate as ion-to-electron transducer (solid contact) in all-solid-state ISEs based on solvent polymeric membranes that are permeable to O2 and CO2.


Advances in three-dimensional rapid prototyping of microfluidic devices for biological applications
  Paul F O'Neill, Aymen Ben Azouz, Mercedes Vazquez, Jinghang Liu, Steven Marczak, Zdenek Slouka, Hsueh Chia Chang, Dermot Diamond, Dermot Brabazon      2014      Biomicrofluidics
A new HPLC stationary phase has been synthesized based on the ionic liquid n-butylimidazolium bromide. Imidazolium was covalently immobilized on a silica substrate through an n-alkyl tether and the retention characteristics of the resulting stationary phase were evaluated systematically. Using 28 small aromatic test solutes and reversed phase conditions, the linear solvation energy relationship approach was successfully used to characterize this new phase. The retention characteristics of the test solutes show remarkable similarity with phenyl stationary phases, despite the presence of a positive charge on the new imidazolium phase. Operated in the reversed phase mode, this new stationary phase shows considerable promise for the separation of neutral solutes and points to the potential for a truly multi-modal stationary phase.

The capability of 3D printing technologies for direct production of complex 3D structures in a single step has recently attracted an ever increasing interest within the field of microfluidics. Recently, ultrafast lasers have also allowed developing new methods for production of internal microfluidic channels within the bulk of glass and polymer materials by direct internal 3D laser writing. This review critically summarizes the latest advances in the production of microfluidic 3D structures by using 3D printing technologies and direct internal 3D laser writing fabrication methods. Current applications of these rapid prototyped microfluidic platforms in biology will be also discussed. These include imaging of cells and living organisms, electrochemical detection of viruses and neurotransmitters, and studies in drug transport and induced-release of adenosine triphosphate from erythrocytes.


Review on recent and advanced applications of monoliths and related porous polymer gels in micro-fluidic devices
  Mercedes Vázquez, Brett Paull      2010      Analytica chimica acta

This review critically summarises recent novel and advanced achievements in the application of monolithic materials and related porous polymer gels in micro-fluidic devices appearing within the literature over the period of the last 5 years (2005–2010). The range of monolithic materials has developed rapidly over the past decade, with a diverse and highly versatile class of materials now available, with each exhibiting distinct porosities, pore sizes, and a wide variety of surface functionalities. A major advantage of these materials is their ease of preparation in micro-fluidic channels by in situpolymerisation, leading to monolithic materials being increasingly utilised for a larger variety of purposes in micro-fluidic platforms. Applications of porous polymer monoliths, silica-based monoliths and related homogeneous porous polymer gels in the preparation of separation columns, ion-permeable membranes, preconcentrators, extractors, electrospray emitters, micro-valves, electrokinetic pumps, micro-reactors and micro-mixers in micro-fluidic devices are discussed herein. Procedures used in the preparation of monolithic materials in micro-channels, as well as some practical aspects of the micro-fluidic chip fabrication are addressed. Recent analytical/bioanalytical and catalytic applications of the final micro-fluidic devices incorporating monolithic materials are also reviewed.


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