Department Water Resources and Drinking Water

Molecular Environmental Geochemistry

Research motivation

The speciation of major and trace elements controls their reactivity, mobility and bioavailability in natural and engineered environments. Knowledge on the relevant chemical species is therefore essential for the mechanistic understanding and quantitative modeling of the fate and impact of nutrients and contaminants in environmental systems.

Our research aims at elucidating biogeochemical processes by relating macroscopic observations from field and laboratory studies to the reactivity and transformation of distinct chemical species. In this context, element-specific X-ray absorption spectroscopy represents a key analytical tool as it provides direct insight into the speciation of elements even at trace levels and in complex environmental matrices.


Dr. Andreas VoegelinTel. +41 58 765 5470Send Mail

Ongoing Projects

  • Structure and morphology of Fe(III)-precipitates formed by Fe(II) oxidation in water and their impact on nutrient and contaminant dynamics.
  • Behavior of engineered silver nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants.
  • Redox properties of Fe in Fe-bearing clays and oxides.
  • Geochemical characterization of a geogenically thallium-rich soil.
  • Speciation and isotope signature of Zn and Cu in the sediment of an eutrophic lake (Collaboration with University of Paris).
  • Arsenic-removal from groundwater using household sand filters.

Completed Projects

  • Diagenetic evolution and mineral composition of Fe/Mn layers in the sediments of Lake Baikal.
  • Dynamics of Cu and Cd speciation and solubility over reduction-oxidation cycles in freshwater floodplain soils (Collaboration with ETH Zurich).
  • Colloidal and dissolved contaminant release from wetland soils during soil flooding and reduction (Collaboration with ETH Zurich).
  • Arsenic contamination of paddy soils through irrigation water in Bangladesh (Collaboration with ETH Zurich).


Dr. Andreas VoegelinTel. +41 58 765 5470Send Mail
Irene BrunnerTel. +41 58 765 5307Send Mail
Anna HasenfratzTel. +41 58 765 5557Send Mail
Numa PfenningerTechnicianTel. +41 58 765 6849Send Mail
Ville NenonenTel. +41 58 765 5961Send Mail