We share a wide range of interests and enjoy scientific inquiry and discovery. Current projects range from studies of early solar system processes (meteorites and lunar rocks, formation of planets and minor bodies) to studies of Earth surface processes and the Earth’s deep interior. Most of our work utilizes trace elements, stable isotopes and the products of natural radioactive decay in rocks, waters and other geomaterials. We use these tools as process tracers and to determine absolute ages of rocks and minerals. Isotopic techniques include Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, U-Pb, Re-Os, 53Cr-54Cr (in meteorites) and stable isotopes of Si, O, C, S, Si, Li, Mg and Fe.
The group’s research projects often include field work to collect samples from places as close as Berlin and as far away as China. Our interest in early solar system processes and meteorites makes us a frequent “customer” of natural history museums around the world and has led to projects involving lunar samples from NASA’s Apollo missions. In other projects, we have been cooperating with several groups in the department (hydrogeology, paleontology, petrology, sedimentology, tectonics), and with others in the area, in Germany and abroad.
Our laboratories include clean and conventional chemistry and sample preparation labs, a state-of-the-art multi-collector thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS - Dr. Elis Hoffmann), and a sector-field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (SF-ICPMS - Dr. Ninja Braukmüller). Additional analytical facilities in the institute we use include gas source mass spectrometry (Dr. Uwe Wiechert), electron microprobe, scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction.
Students receive hands-on experience in analytical techniques through introductory and advanced courses at B.Sc. and M.Sc. level, and thesis projects, with the goal to teach basic and advanced analytical skills, the integration of field, lab and theoretical data, and to raise awareness of the power and limitations of geochemical data.
If you are a student with excitement for scientific exploration who are not afraid of the lab you are encouraged to contact us (Prof. Harry Becker).