Research

Our research interests centre around understanding processes that control the fate of trace elements in natural and engineered systems, from the global to the molecular scale. Our aim is to contribute to the knowledge base that enables a sustainable development of our society while protecting environmental quality and health.

Our group conducts laboratory experiments studying solution and interface processes using electrochemical and spectrophotometric techniques and we conduct field work collecting plant, soil, aerosols and water samples and determining their isotopic composition and elemental concentrations. We apply and develop computational methods such as density functional theory and surface complexation modelling.

Our research objectives are

  • to explore the application of non-traditional stable isotopes as proxies to identify geochemical processes and cycles and to understand the underlying fractionation mechanisms. ¬†This includes the development of multi collector plasma source mass spectrometry techniques, exploring in particular applications to ore formation, micronutrient uptake and atmospheric pollution and calibrating the isotope tracers
  • to understand fundamental controls of biogeochemical cycles and to study the effect of environmental change on these. A special focus is on studying the human impact on atmospheric trace element cycles and understanding the mechanisms how plants and other organisms overcome micronutrient deficiency and how climate change affects these.
  • to study geochemical processes in engineered environments relevant to support sustainable economic growth.¬† In particular we are involved in the development of a new generation of sorbents used in water treatment that are more easy to use and require less energy or that are very selective, hence can be used in point of use devices, and in waste management and in particular understanding the chemistry of actinides and other toxic metals in the near field of nuclear waste.