Department Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry Stable Isotope Lab

***News *** We are organizing the next European Stable Isotope Conference 2017 in Sourthern Switzerland. Check Isotopes 2017; New master thesis topics  for 2017 (flyer)

Our Research - part 1

Identifying the degradation and formation pathways of organic micropollutants in the environment is a major challenge. With compound-specific stable isotope analysis, short CSIA, you can do it !

Almost every chemical and biological reaction exhibits an isotope effect. As a consequence, the stable isotope ratios of typical elements in organic pollutants, for example 13C/12C, 2H/1H, and 15N/14N change as during degradation. We take advantage of this fundamental phenomenon in physical chemistry and develop new tools for assessing the routes and the extent of micropollutant biodegradation.

Our approach includes (i) the development of customized analytical techniques for gas and liquid chromatography coupled to isotope ratio mass spectrometry, (ii) the study of abiotic and enzymatic reaction mechanisms of organic pollutants, and (iii) the application of pollution problems in aquatic and soil environments. 

A list of current projects in research area 1

Our research part 2

Characterizing the redox properties of Fe (oxyhydr)oxides and clay minerals

Iron-bearing clay minerals are important redox buffers in the subsurface that can affect the biogeochemical cycling of elements and the fate, transport, and toxicity of pollutants.

To assess the role that structural Fe in clay minerals plays in redox reactions in pristine and contaminated environments, we are developing electrochemistry-based approaches to derive thermodynamic parameters of such mineral phases.

A list of current projects in research area 2