BioGeoLab| Helmholtz-Laboratory for Integrated Biological and Geological Research

In the BioGeoLab basic research on (micro)biological, (bio)geochemical and geological processes and their dynamics in deep sedimentary deposits is performed.

Equipment: classical microbiology investigations (e.g. isolation and characterization of bacteria and archaea, taxonomy and physiology), culture-independent characterization of microbial communities (e.g. DNA/RNA based studies, quantitative PCR, Stable Isotope Probing, Next Generation Sequencing, and bioinformatics).

Contact person: Prof. Dirk Wagner

HELGES| Helmholtz-Laboratory for the Geochemistry of the Earth Surface

In the HELGES Laboratory, sample preparation and measurements of cosmogenic nuclides and stable isotopes of metals and metalloids in geological and environmental sample materials, such as sediments, rocks, river water, soils, vegetation are performed.

Equipment: Two clean labs class 1000+ with class 10 laminar flow workstations for sample preparation of low concentration samples. Dry and wet chemistry labs for preparation of solid and liquid samples. Analytical instruments for concentration and isotope ratio measurements on liquid and solid samples. A Thermo Neptune Multicollector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) for isotope measurements (Li, Mg, Si, Fe, Sr). Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (Varian 720 ES ICP-OES) for concentration measurements. Both ICP instruments can be coupled to an in-house built femtosecond laser ablation system (fsLA-MC-ICP-MS or fsLA-ICP-OES) for in-situ concentration and isotope ratio measurements at the micrometer scale.

Contact person: Prof. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg

High-Pressure Labs

In our high-pressure labs we experimentally simulate the conditions ranging from the Earth’s crust to the deep mantle.

Equipment: Hydrothermal laboratory, internally heated pressure vessel (IHPV), Piston Cylinder Press, Multi-Anvil Press

Contact person: Prof. Monika Koch-Müller

Noble Gas Laboratory

In the Noble Gas Laboratory, the isotopic signature of noble gases can be determined that provides valuable information on the origin and history of a rock or fluid sample.

Equipment: 2 noble gas spectrometers (MM 5400 and Helix SFT), water degassing line, gas preparation line

Contact person: Dr. Samuel Niedermann

SIMS Laboratory

The SIMS laboratory is an open user facility intended to support the needs of the global geochemical community. It offers six modes of operation: Isotopic Analyses, Trace Element Analyses, Geochronology, Imaging, Depth Profiling, Particle Search.

Equipment: fully equipped, large geometry SIMS instrument and associated instruments

Contact person: Dr. Michael Wiedenbeck


The mobile Hydrolab allows for analysis of soil and water directly in the field.

Equipment: Current meter, water quality sensor, Groundwater pump, different samplers for water and soil

Contact person: Jörg Wummel

Electron Microprobe Laboratory

The electron microprobe technique allows for nondestructive analyses of smallest parts of materials (in micrometer range) with high precision. Materials that can be analysed are embedded and polished mineral grains (also gemstones), glass particles as well as rocks. Except for H, He, and Li all elements of the periodic table until including U can be detected and quantified.

Equipment: JEOL Hyperprobe JXA-8500F with a thermal field-emission cathode; JEOL Superprobe JXA 8230 with tungsten or LaB6 cathodes

Contact person: Dr. Franziska Wilke

TEM Laboratory

The Transmission Electron Microscopy TEM laboratory provides powerful techniques for characterization of crystal structure, microstructures and chemical composition of materials down to a near atomic level.

Das Labor zur Transmissionselektronenmikroskopie (TEM) erlaubt die Untersuchung von Kristallstrukturen, Mikrostrukturen und der chemischen Zusammensetzung von Festkörpern bis zu nahezu atomarer Auflösung.

Equipment: Transmission Electron Microscopy Type FEI Tecnai™ F20X-Twin, Focused Ion Beam (FIB) device for specimen preparation.

Contact person: Dr. Richard Wirth

Bubble Lab

The Bubble Lab is an experimental laboratory to study bubble processes in hydrothermal and volcanic terrain.

Equipment: Shaking table, camera system, pressure sensors, modular data aquisition system, vizualisation via LabView

Contact persons: Dr. Heiko Woith, PD Dr. Thomas Walter, Dr. Eleonora Rivalta

Geodynamic Laboratory

In the Geodanamic Lab, kinematic and tectonic models help to quantify geodynamic processes and their steering factors.

Equipment: Material properties: ring shear tester, uniaxial press, rheometer. Setups for scaled experiments: 2D and 3D brittle wedges, seismotectonics, volcanotectonics, landslides, hydraulic fracturing. Monitoring: PIV systems at 5-700 Hz, force and fluid pressure sensors, accelerometers.

Contact person: Dr. Matthias Rosenau

Laboratory for Microfacies Analysis

In the Laboratory for Microfacies analysis, marine and lacustrine samples can be prepared and analyzed.

Equipment: Thin-section preparation, petrographic microscope ZEISS “Axiophot” with 2 analog- and one digital camera (Axiocam), petrographic microscope ZEISS “Axiophot”, fluorescence microscope ZEISS “Jenalumar”, micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometer EAGLE III XL, micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, Itrax Corescanner

Contact person: Dieter Berger (Thin-section preparation), Dr. Jens Mingram (Mikroskopy), Dr. Rik Tjallingii (µ-XRF Analysis)

Laboratory for Sediment Analysis

The Sediment Laboratory for sedimentary-geochemical analysis allows for the analysis of solid matter and water, radiometry, and element analysis.

Equipment: Ion-chromatographie System, UV/Vis Spektrometer, Spektrometer, Massenspektrometer, Kohlenstoff-Analysator TOC-5000A, Coulomat 702, GeoLas Pro M Laser Ablation System (LA-ICP-MS), Reinst-Germanium Detektoren mit Blei-Abschirmung, Alpha Analyst mit acht PIPS Detektoren, Elementaranalyse EA-CHNS Analysator, DELTAplusXL, MAT 253 IRMS und Carbonate Kiel IV device

Contact person: Dr. Georg Schettler, Dr. Birgit Plessen (element analysis)

Laboratory for Paleo- and Rock Magnetism

In the laboratory for Paleo- and Rock magnetism, the magnetic suszeptibility of rocks and sediments can be analysed.

Equipment: 2 core logger, Variable Field Susceptibility Meter, fluxgate Magnetometer, Cryogenic long-core magnetometer, Gaussmeter, Spinnermagnetometer (16.7 und 89.7 Hz), Pulse magnetizer, Single-axis alternating field demagnetizer, Thermal demagnetizers (MMTD18 und TD48), Variable Field Translation Balance

Contact person: Dr. habil. Norbert Nowaczyk

Dendrochronology Laboratory

The Dendrochronology Laboratory serves for the reconstruction of temporal and spatial variability of the climate of the past utilizing multi-parameter tree ring analysis.

Equipment: Technical field equipment, dendroecologic monitoring, sample preparation and storage, dendrochronology, quantitative wood anatomy, chemistry of wood, stable isotope mass spectrometry of organic matter and water.

Contact person: Dr. Gerhard Helle, Dr. Ingo Heinrich

Spectral Laboratory

Equipment: Laboratory spectroradiometer (VNIR/SWIR and Fourier Transform Infrarot (FTIR) spectrometer Spectrum GX), field spectroradiometer (ASD FieldSpec), hyperspectral camera (HySpex VNIR-1600 und SWIR-320), mobile x-ray fluorescence analysation (RFA, XRF)

Contact person: Dr. Sabine Chabrillat

Electronic Laboratory

The Electronic laboratory supports the development of geophysical exploration systems.

Equipment: Control and feedback control systems, div. measurement technique.

Contact person: Dr. Rüdiger Giese