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.

The Latest News

PhD defense, 31 January 2019

Avak Sven Defense.JPG

Congratulations to Sven Avak

On 31 January 2019 Sven successfully defended his PhD entitled “Impact and Implications of Melting on the Preservation of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Snow and Glacier Ice" at the University of Bern. Congratulations! This thesis formed part of the collaborative project Microscale Distribution of Impurities in Snow and Glacier Ice (MiSo) in co-operation with LUC's Surface Chemistry research group and the WSL-SLF Davos. The project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

PhD defense, 29 October 2018


Congratulations to Dimitri Osmont

Dimitri successfully defended his PhD at the University of Bern, entitled "Reconstruction of forest fires through chemical analysis of black carbon in ice cores from high- alpine glaciers". This thesis formed part the collaborative project paleo fires with ETH Zürich and University of Bern funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

LUC New Team Member, 1 October 2018


Welcome Martina Barandun

We warmly welcome Martina Barandun as Postdoc in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry. She joined the Analytical Chemistry group on 1 October 2018.

Martina Barandun studied Geography at the University of Fribourg, where she also obtained her PhD in the Department of Geosciences. For the latter she worked on transient snowline observations to remotely derive seasonal to sub-seasonal glacier mass balance in the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains of Central Asia. At PSI, Martina Barandun will quantify the concentration of different light absorbing impurities such as black carbon or mineral dust particles in surface snow and ice from various glaciers in Central Chile, to estimate their impact on albedo reduction and accelerated melt. This is a joint project with the Centro de Estudios Cientificos in Valdivia, Chile.

Current Scientific Highlight

17 October 2018

teaser picture

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

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

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.

The Latest Publications

  • 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