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Separation science is the quintessential enabling science, finding use in all of the chemical and biological sciences and in many areas of engineering. It involves the study of fundamental processes and materials for the separation and subsequent measurement of specific molecules, usually when these are present in very complex mixtures.
Advances in separation science have provided the impetus for exciting new developments in the biological sciences (eg. genomics, proteomics and medicine), pharmaceutical sciences (eg. drug discovery and characterisation), environmental sciences (eg. ultra-trace residue analysis), forensic science (eg. illicit drugs, DNA fingerprinting, and explosives residues) and other areas.
The discovery of new modes of separation science involving analysis, characterisation and purification will be essential to these fields. Separation science also bridges the nanoscale through to the macroscale, with common elements of theory and implementation.
Advances in separation science will therefore be an important driver behind a very broad spectrum of Australian science, ranging from new developments in nanotechnology to novel biomaterials. Its importance as an enabling science cannot be overstated.
Authorised by the Director, Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science
8 November, 2012