HELGES - Helmholtz Laboratory for the Geochemistry of the Earth Surface

The Helmholtz Laboratory for the Geochemistry of the Earth Surface (HELGES) is operated by the Earth Surface Geochemistry group at GFZ (section 3.4). To accommodate the HELGES labs, an annex to the existing building was constructed between 2011 and 2013. Lab building finished in August 2013 and now more than 200 m2 of lab space is available for sample preparation and measurements of cosmogenic nuclides (10Be and 27Al) and stable isotopes of metals and metalloids (currently Li, Mg, Si, Fe, Sr) in geological and environmental sample materials, such as sediments, rocks, river water, soils, vegetation.

Two clean labs with laminar flow workstations, are available for sample preparation of low concentration samples to avoid contamination in order to obtain accurate measurements. In addition to the clean labs, additional dry and wet chemistry labs provide the necessary equipment for preparation and dissolution of liquid and solid samples, respectively. We have facilities for rock crushing, sieving, mineral separation, filtration of water samples, microwave assisted sample dissolution and alkali fusion, microscopy and sample preparation for micro-analytical work by laser ablation.

The HELGES lab also accommodates 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) is used for isotope measurements (Li, Mg, Si, Fe, Sr). Concentration measurements are done by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (Varian 720 ES ICP-OES), Sector Field Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (Thermo Element2 ICP-MS), and two Quadrupole Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry ICP-MS (Thermo iCap-Q ICP-MS). All ICP instruments can be coupled to an in-house built femtosecond laser ablation system (fsLA-(MC)ICP-MS or -OES) for in-situ concentration and isotope ratio measurements at the micrometer scale.

Metal free Clean Laboratory for stable metal isotopes

Cosmogenic Nuclides sample Preparation Lab

ICP Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

UV Femtosecond Laser Ablation

iCAP-Q Mass Spectrometer (Q-ICP-MS)

Total Organic Carbon Analyser (TOC)

Neptune Multicollector ICP Mass Spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS)

Element2 ICP ICP Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS)

Microwave Digestion System and Alkali Fusion sample dissolution

Ir strip heater

Microscopy

Mineral separation

Rock preparation and crushing