Personal profile:

Profile photo of  Dr. Tomasz Stawski

Dr. Tomasz Stawski

Section 4.4: Interface Geochemistry

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Building C, room 121
14473 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-27511
Fax: +49 331 288-28802
e-mail: tomasz.stawski(at)


About the person

Function and Responsibilities:

As of 01/05/2017 I have started an exciting new project "NanoSiAl"
The main objective of the NanoSiAl project is to develop, test and validate the methods for the direct in situ and real-time structural and kinetic characterisation of the alumina and silica colloid formation pathways at the length-scale of <100 nm. 
Alumina and silica nanophases play a crucial role in rock weathering and their formation and destruction controls Earth’s response to global climate change. The presence of various products of aqueous weathering of aluminosilicates points to a complex activity of water, and is considered as the geological indication for the occurrence of life-habitable conditions. In this regard, a more complete picture of the water-alumina-silica interactions would allow for better specifying the molecular-level
conditions for early life. 
Upon weathering the original Al- and Si-containing phases are dissolved at the solid-water interface,
undergo hydrolysis and condensation reactions and form new colloidal nanoparticles. However, quantitative and mechanistic understanding of the underlying processes that lead to the formation and types of Al and Si phases is still lacking, due to the insufficient in situ methodology providing structural information about the colloidal species in solution.
My research interests concern the nucleation and growth of inorganic phases from solutions. These include such mineral systems as calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, as well various natural and synthetic aluminosilicates such as clays and geopolymers.
I specialize (and find joy) in utilizing the synchrotron-based scattering methods (small- and wide- angle X-ray scattering, and high-energy X-ray diffraction, SAXS/WAXS/HEXD) to study  in situ the mechanism of mineral formation. Recently, I have been also involved in developing expertise in the liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy available in our section.
This is also me all over the Internet:

Research Interests:

- nucleation and growth of crystals from solutions of various minerals. CaSO4 is my favourite!
- scattering methods: SAXS/WAXS and total scattering
- theory of scattering and development of models for scattering data interpretation
- electron microscopy
- commercialization of research results



01/05/2017 Marie Curie Individual Fellow, project "NanoSiAl" at Helmholtz Centre Potsdam

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany


01/01/2016 - 30/04/2017 Post Doc at Helmholtz Centre Potsdam

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany

01/02/2015 – 31/12/2015 Lecturer in Mineral Crystallisation

Cohen Geochemistry group, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

15/01/2013 – 31/01/2015 Post doc (as ER in FP7-ITN-MINSC “Mineral scale formation: From the nano to the field scale")

Cohen Geochemistry group, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK


15/09/2007 – 15/12/2011 PhD, Materials Chemistry

University of Twente and MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, the Netherlands;

Title of the dissertation: “Understanding microstructural properties of perovskite ceramics through their wet-chemical synthesis” (ISBN: 978-90-365-3303-4). Supervisors: Prof J.E. ten Elshof, Prof. D.H.A. Blank.

01/10/2002 – 01/07/2007 Master of Science and Engineer,

Materials Science and Chemistry: nano- and supramolecular structures, Faculty of Chemistry and Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science, Jagiellonian University, Poland;

Title of the thesis: “Synthesis and characterization of the cyano-bridged bimetallic coordination polymeric thin films deposited on a copper substrate”. Supervisor: Prof J. Szklarzewicz.



Funding from Beam-time Diamond Light Source (UK) synchrotron:

10/05/2013 – 14/05/2013 A 'green’ chemical process for printable electronics using multiferroic bismuth ferrite nanoparticles. Together with Liane Benning and Adriana Matamoros Veloza. SAXS/WAXS I22 beamline.

28/09/2013 – 01/10/2013 Mineral scaling: a big industrial headache and how micelles can help reduce it! Together with Liane Benning and Adriana Matamoros Veloza. SAXS/WAXS I22 beamline.

25/10/2013 – 28/10/2013 Forming the crystals that may have catalysed life: FeS nucleation and growth from solution. Together with Liane Benning and Adriana Matamoros Veloza. SAXS/WAXS I22 beamline.

22/05/2015 – 24/05/2015 Gypsum grows from sub-3 nm rod-shaped primary particles. What are they? Together with Alexander Van Driessche, Liane Benning and Rogier Besselink. HEXD I15 beamline.

Funding From European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (France) synchrotron:

02/05/2014 – 05/05/2014 Unraveling the CaCO3/PSS Mesocrystal Formation. Together with Nico Sommerdijk and Adriana Matamoros Veloza. SAXS/WAXS BM26B beamline.

23/06/2014 – 27/06/2014 Unraveling the CaCO3/PSS Mesocrystal Formation. Follow-up. 

SAXS/WAXS BM26B beamline.

30/11/2014 – 05/12/2014  Understanding CaCO3 nucleation using nanoreactors. Together with Alejandro Fernandez Martinez, Teresa Rocal-Herreo and Sjoerd Veldhuis. HEXD ID15 beamline.

Funding from EMBL and DESY PETRA III (Germany) synchrotron:

12/08/2015 – 13/08/2015 Formation of silica-lysozyme composites: a mechanistic model study for the better understanding of biosilicification processes. Together with Daniela Meier, Rogier Besselink and Liane Benning. SAXS P12 beamline.

These are my current projects in collaboration with other researchers:

Dr Teresa Roncal-Herreo and Dr. Roland Kröger, “Crystallization of CaCO3 in microemulsions – electron microscopy characterisation”, Department in Physics, University of York, UK.

Dr Adriana Matamoros Veloza, “Formation of FeS phases – SAXS/WAXS and total scattering characterisation”, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK.

Dr Alejandro Fernandez-Martinez, “Crystallization of CaCO3 in microemulsions – total scattering and pair distribution function analysis ”, ISTerre Grenoble, France.

Dr Alexander E.S. Van Driessche, “Crystallisation pathways of calcium sulphate – in situ SAXS/WAXS”, Structural Biology Brussels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

Dr Dominique Tobler and Dr Juan Diego Rodriguez Blanco, “Crystallization of CaCO3 – SAXS/WAXS characterisation”, NanoGeoScience, Department of Chemistry, Univeristy of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dr Sjoerd Veldhuis and Prof Andre ten Elshof, “Crystallization pathways of BaTiO3 – SAXS and total scattering characterisation”, Inorganic Materials Science group, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.