History of the Institute commenced in 1956 when the Laboratory for Gas Analysis had been established by transferring a small research group from the Institute for Petroleum Research in Brno to the former Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. The establishing of the Laboratory had largely been made possible through the foresight of František Šorm, at the time the Scientific Secretary of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
The leader of the original research group was Jaroslav Janák. He served as the first director of the Institute until 1980, and the Institute gained a widespread international recognition under his leadership.
Since 1956, the Institute has gradually grown in both staff and research topics. The growth has been marked by several formal milestones, the last of these being the establishment of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1991. The original subjects of gas analysis and gas chromatography have been complemented by liquid chromatography and electromigration methods. The subsequent additions have included field-flow fractionation, supercritical fluid chromatography and extraction, and selected specific techniques of environmental analytical chemistry. The history of the Institute has benefited from an extensive "cross-pollination" among the individual research teams and topics. In particular, this has applied to the design and development of laboratory gadgets and instruments for analytical-scale separations, and to the design of "couplings" between a separation method and a detection technique.
In 1991, the Institute has moved into new and more spacious premises. This event has secured somewhat better conditions for full development of the capabilities of the staff.
In 1992, the number of employees of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has been cut down significantly because of budget restrictions. As a result, some institutes of the Academy have been dissolved, including the former Institute of Nuclear Biology and Radiochemistry in Prague. However, the research group of trace inorganic analysis from that institute has become a detached workplace of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry. This event has marked an important change in scope of the scientific program of the Institute, adding some selected methods of atomic spectrometry to the Institute's former program concerned entirely with analytical separations.
The most recent additions to the research program of the Institute include applications of mass spectrometry, and establishment of two new research groups in 2001: Department of Bioanalytical Instrumentation and Department of Proteomics. The applications of mass spectrometry will employ coupling of MS with separation techniques as well as the MALDI-TOF technique. The Department of Bioanalytical Instrumentation will primarily be concerned with the development of chip-based separation devices.
Currently, our efforts have been aimed toward an optimum utilization of the potential of analytical chemistry in diverse branches of science and technology. We have been engaged in developments of theoretical background, applications, and instrumentation of separation and spectroscopic methods of analytical chemistry. The separation branch of our research includes the methods employing electric field, sorption, fluid flow, force field, chemical reaction, and their combinations as the driving forces for separation. The spectroscopy branch of our research includes mass spectrometry, atomic spectroscopy, and developments of some optical spectroscopic techniques to be used for detection in the separation methods. As an important and inseparable by-product, the theoretical outlets also provide new, original knowledge applicable in other branches of science, primarily in biochemistry and physical chemistry. Applications pertain to a broad range of fields including clinical medicine, environmental protection, foodstuff production, and high-purity materials.