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 3.3). 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, class 1000+, with class 10 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 of solid and liquid samples, such as rock crushing, sieving, mineral separation, filtration of water samples, microwave assisted sample dissolution, 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). 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.

metal free clean lab for stable metal isotopes
clean lab for cosmogenic isotopes
Neptune mass spectrometer and Fem2 femtosecond laser ablation system
ICP analyses


Profile photo of  Prof. Dr. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg

Prof. Dr. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg
Geochemistry of the Earth's surface

Building E, room 220
14473 Potsdam
tel. +49 331 288-2850