The ISOLAB FACILITY of the AWI in Potsdam develops and utilizes stable H, O, C, N isotope methods to decipher Quaternary environmental change on in polar regions of both hemispheres.

The Laboratory for Stable Isotopes at AWI Potsdam does research in the Polar Regions of both hemispheres on natural materials such as water, ice, organic matter form soils and sediments and biogenic opal (i.e. diatoms). We use analyses on stable oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen isotopes to reconstruct the climate and environmental dynamics in high latitudes (both Arctic and Antarctic research).

The research focus region is Siberia. The scientific orientation of research projects imcludes scientific applications of stable isotope methods in permafrost research, palaeoclimate studies, by also in the fields of limnology, hydrology, ecology and glaciology.

Dr. Hanno Meyer

Technical staff
Lutz Schönicke
Mikaela Weiner

Analytical devices

The Laboratory for Stable Isotopes is equipped with the following devices and peripheries:

Mass spectrometer

Finnigan-MAT Delta S

  • 3 Finnigan-MAT Delta-S mass spectrometers: HD, CO2, each with 2 equilibration units for H- and O isotopes.

ThermoFisher Delta V

  • 1 ThermoFisher Delta-V-Advantage mass spectrometer for CO2, N2, with Conflo-IV and Flash EA 2000 elemental anlyser and autosampler for C and N Isotopes.

PDZ Europa 2020

  • 1 PDZ Europa Scientific 20/20 mass spectrometer: O2, with custom-made laser fluoration (with BrF5) for O isotopes in (biogenic) silicates.

Laser spectrometers

Picarro L2120i

  • 1 Picarro L2120i Cavity RingDown Spectrometer with A0101 Autosampler and A0211 Vaporizer for H und O isotopes (in water samples) or alternatively coupled with a A0213 induction module (IM) for H und O isotopes (in solids).

Picarro L2130i

  • 1 Picarro L2130i Cavity RingDown Spectrometer with PAL HTC-xt Autosampler and A0211 Vaporizer for H and O isotopes (in water samples)

Picarro L2140i

  • 1 Picarro L2140i Cavity RingDown Spectrometer with A0101 Autosampler and A0211 Vaporizer for H and O isotopes (in water samples)
  • 1 Picarro L2140i Cavity RingDown Spectrometer with own standard module for continuous H and O isotope measurements (in water vapour). Device situated on Samoylov Island, Siberia (since 2015).

Projects, Cooperations, Networking

From source to sink – Deciphering the isotopic fingerprint oft he eastern Arctic water cycle (Iso-Arc)

The Iso-Arc project, which was funded by the AWI Strategy Fund, aims for the first-time detailed determination and description of the water cycle in the Eastern Arctic and its isotope fingerprint (H218O, HD16O). Isotope measurements of water vapor are analyzed and interpreted in combination with ocean and precipitation data and climate simulations with explicit isotope diagnostics.

PLOT – Paleolimnological Transect: climate and vegetation history from lake sediments

The subproject of the BMBF project "PLOT - Paleolimnological Transect" that ist carried out at the University of Cologne focuses on the reconstruction of climate and vegetation changes along a 6000 km long latitudinal transect from Lake Ladoga in the west to Lake El´gygytgyn in the East (see map). The reconstruction is based on multi-disciplinary geoscientific analyses of more than 50 m long sediment cores from five lakes, which are to be compared to respective data from the master record that was drilled in 2009 within the scope of the El´gygytgyn Drilling Project. The subproject at the University of Cologne furthermore is responsible for the coordination of the German activities in the Russian-German PLOT project, which is carried out under the umbrella of a bilateral agreement of the Russian and German research ministries on scientific collaboration in the fields of polar and marine research.