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.

2 juin 2020

Congratulations to Ling Fang

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.

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2 juin 2020

Welcome Kevin Kilchhofer

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.

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1 novembre 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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17 octobre 2018

Les causes de la fin du Petit Âge glaciaire au milieu du XIXe siècle

Communiqués de presse Energie et environnement Environnement

Au cours de la première moitié du XIXe siècle, une série de fortes éruptions volcaniques dans les Tropiques a provoqué temporairement un refroidissement global du climat terrestre. Le fait que les glaciers ont progressé pendant la phase finale du Petit Âge glaciaire, avant de reculer à nouveau, était un phénomène naturel. C’est ce qu’ont montré des chercheurs du PSI au moyen de carottes de glace.

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26 septembre 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