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Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry

The Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry (LUC) focuses on fundamental research and education for assessing the impact of human activities and natural processes on human health, environment and climate.
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.


1 November 2019
Burgay François

Welcome François Burgay

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.

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1 October 2019
Huber Carla Jennifer

Welcome Carla Jennifer Huber

We warmly welcome Carla Huber as a PhD student in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry. She joined the Analytical Chemistry group on 1 October 2019.

Carla Huber studied Chemistry at the ETH Zurich, with a focus on organic chemistry. For her master thesis, she investigated solvent effects on the binding of lysine and arginine to proline rich cyclic receptors.

At PSI, Carla Huber will investigate the preservation, stability and potential contamination of molecular markers in snow and ice through analysis of snow pit and simultaneous long-term atmospheric aerosol samples from the same site using state-of-the-art high-resolution organic mass spectrometry.

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1 September 2019
Münster Tatjana Sarah

Welcome Tatjana Sarah Münster

We warmly welcome Tatjana Münster as a PhD student in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry. She joined the Analytical Chemistry group on 1 September 2019.

Tatjana Münster studied Earth Sciences with a focus on palaeoclimatology, sedimentology, palaeoenvironmental, dynamics, and isotope geochemistry. She received her BSc from the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz and her MSc from the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg.

At PSI, Tatjana Münster will characterize the performance of a new ICP-TOF mass spectrometer for trace element analysis in ice cores, obtain a trace element record using this instrument from an Alpine ice core, and reconstruct the history of Saharan dust transports and heavy metal pollution from metallurgy over the last 2000 years.

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17 October 2018
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Why the Little Ice Age ended in the middle of the 19th century

Media Releases Energy and Environment Enviroment

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.

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26 September 2017
In the experimental chamber, a very thin vertical jet of water can be seen, which flows downward in the middle of the picture from a small tube. During the experiment, the chamber contains a gas mixture including ozone, which reacts on the surface with bromide in the water and produces bromine. As an intermediate step in the process, a short-lived compound of bromide and ozone is made, which was detected for the first time ever with the help of X-ray light from SLS. For this proof, the X-ray light knocked …

Light from the particle accelerator helps to understand ozone decomposition

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.

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  • A Holocene black carbon ice-core record of biomass burning in the Amazon Basin from Illimani, Bolivia D Osmont, M Sigl, A Eichler, TM Jenk and M Schwikowski
    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 ACF King, C Giorio, E Wolff, E Thomas, O Karroca, M Roverso, M Schwikowski, A Tapparo, A Gambaro and M Kalberer
    Talanta 194, 233-242 (2019).
    DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2018.10.042