NanoScience in Geoscience
The main objective of the NanoGeoscience working group is to draw conclusions about geological, mineralogical, crystallographical and geochemical processes based on the analysis of structural defects in crystals and the chemical variability in the sub-micrometer range. This includes the decoding and reconstruction of the thermo-mechanical developmental history of crystals in terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials as well as the investigation of process steps within material science.
The methodical focus is on analytical (ATEM) and high-resolution (HRTEM) transmission electron microscopy and combined confocal micro-X-ray fluorescence and micro-X-ray diffraction by means of synchrotron radiation (currently at the ESRF (Grenoble) and DESY (Hamburg)). A combination with further micro- and nanoanalytical tools (EBSD, micro-Raman spectroscopy, microprobe, NanoSIMS etc.) has proven to be particularly successful and is carried out with different cooperation partners.
Analytical transmission electron microscopy provides a direct view of current processes or those that have already taken place. Thus, reaction, transformation, deformation or crystallization mechanisms can be directly observed or reconstructed.
The use of X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence techniques using synchrotron radiation provides the ideal link to standard microanalytical techniques and light microscopy. Numerous synchrotron sources are now anxious to achieve the leap to a point resolution of only a few nanometers. In routine operation, beam diameters far below one micrometer can already be achieved. In the future, this will make the combination of transmission electron microscopy and analytical methods on particle accelerators an even more effective tool.
With the application of these analytic techniques, we work on a number of different projects. Common to all projects is the relationship between the analysis of crystal defects and the process quantification.