The concept of green analytical chemistry originated in the 1990s as a nebulous idea of using less harmful solvents in sample preparation than acetonitrile, which was the customary extraction agent in analytical practice at that time. It appeared to some to be an opportunistic way for the discipline to hitch its wagon to the rising star of green chemistry. However, it soon became obvious, owing to the efforts of the editors of this book and other analytical chemists, including Namieśnik, Koel and Raynie, that the concept was in itself a solid science, with its own topics, problems and contents.
Analytical chemistry is much more than a set of tools supporting other branches of chemistry. Among other aims, it plays a significant role in setting limits to growth by identifying the boundaries within which technology can be applied without endangering the sustainable functioning of human society. In this role, green analytical chemistry now directly influences the greenness of analytical chemistry. As an information science, analytical chemistry requires an information carrier. One of the features by which the progress of information science is measured is the reduction of the size of the carrier. The big mainframe computers of the 1960s and 1970s have been replaced by smartphones, which are more powerful and execute many more tasks than foreseen at the beginning of the Internet era. Analytical chemistry shares this requirement of information science to reduce the bulkiness of the information carrier. While this goal still remains to be achieved, green analytical chemistry studies methods and teaches practitioners how to attain it. Therefore, a vital topic of green analytical chemistry is the miniaturization of analytical equipment and the simplification of analytical procedures, including sample collection, processing and measurement. Portability is a desirable feature that can be accomplished via miniaturization and microfluidics and modern sensor technology. In addition, the discipline advocates the revival of earlier analytical methods such as colorimetry that take advantage of existing advanced technology such as smartphones. The ultimate goal of green analytical chemistry is the democratization of analytical chemistry. This idea, first proposed by de la Guardia, and the many ways of achieving it, are a central theme of this book. Democratization makes analytical measurements available to everyone who desires to understand and control their environment: the quality of food, air and water, in addition to data pertaining to a subject's health.
This book makes an important contribution to the topics and aims listed above. The editors have assembled a remarkable team of authors and experts who discuss the topics in depth. I strongly recommend this work to all practitioners of analytical chemistry, decision-makers in the fields of science and government and students and teachers of chemistry.
I congratulate the editors, Salvador Garrigues and Miguel de la Guardia, and all of the outstanding contributors for the valuable perspective on green analytical chemistry contained in this book. As it covers a wide range of challenges and successes ranging from emerging instrumental analyses to novel approaches to sample preparation, new separation techniques, and the rise of real-time sensors, this book provides insights into the evolution of the discipline over the past decade.