Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry
The surface chemistry research group investigates multi-phase chemical processes relevant for atmospheric chemistry and the analytical chemistry research group reconstructs environmental and climatic conditions from high-altitude glaciers.
The Latest News
On 2 June 2020 Ling successfully defended her PhD entitled “Radiocarbon analysis of dissolved organic carbon from ice cores" at the University of Bern. This was the first time that a student from our lab defended online and Ling delivered a great performance. Congratulations! The project was conducted in collaboration with the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA) of the University of Bern, Nanjing University, and the University of Maine, amongst others, and funded jointly by the University of Bern and the Paul Scherrer Institute.
We warmly welcome Kevin Kilchhofer as a PhD student in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry. He joined the Surface Chemistry group on 1 June 2020.
Kevin Kilchhofer studied Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the ETH Zurich, with a focus on atmospheric chemistry and physics. For his master thesis, he investigated the impact of cloud processing on the ice nucleation ability of aerosol particles.
At PSI, Kevin Kilchhofer will investigate the feedbacks between photochemically induced peroxy radical chemistry and the evolution of composition in viscous secondary organic aerosol proxies using a suite of flow tube and aerosol mass spectrometry techniques, accompanied by radially resolved modelling of physical and chemical processes.
We warmly welcome François Burgay as Postdoc in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry. He joined the Analytical Chemistry group on 1 November 2019.
François Burgay studied Environmental Chemistry at the University of Turin and got his PhD in science and management of climate change from the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. In his Phd project he developed new analytical techniques for iron speciation in ice cores.
At PSI, François Burgay will determine the chemical composition and sources of organic aerosols in the pre-industrial and industrial atmosphere by analyzing molecular markers in ice cores from Europe and the Central Asian Altai, applying sensitive liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.
Current Scientific Highlight
Scientists have just nucleated ice in an X-ray microscope for the first time and they created chemical maps of those responsible.
In the first half of the 19th century, a series of large volcanic eruptions in the tropics led to a temporary global cooling of Earth's climate. That Alpine glaciers grew and subsequently receded again during the final phase of the so-called Little Ice Age was due to a natural process. This has now been proven by PSI researchers on the basis of ice cores.
PSI researchers have developed an experimental chamber in which they can recreate atmospheric processes and probe them with unprecedented precision, using X-ray light from the Swiss Light Source SLS. In the initial experiments, they have studied the production of bromine, which plays an essential role in the decomposition of ozone in the lower layers of the atmosphere. In the future, the new experiment chamber will also be available for use by researchers from other scientific fields.
The Latest Publications
A Holocene black carbon ice-core record of biomass burning in the Amazon Basin from Illimani, Bolivia
Climate of the Past 15, 579-592 (2019).DOI: 10.5194/cp-15-579-2019
A new method for the determination of primary and secondary terrestrial and marine biomarkers in ice cores using liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry
Talanta 194, 233-242 (2019).DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2018.10.042