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Facilities & Equipment

The tools used in the Biogeochemistry Group include a range of analytical, radiotracer, and stable isotope methods that are applied to samples and/or experiments. A brief description of the facilities and equipment available for our research in the Biogeochemistry department is given below.

Lance-A-Lot © Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Sea-going equipment

  • Lance-A-Lot is a benthic observatory that operates autonomously and performs a series of complex tasks. The system was developed to understand the dynamic interaction of bottom water currents, sediment transport and benthic exchange processes. 
  • Four in situ-pumps for filtering large amounts of water (up to 2000 liter) in situ for collection of adequate amounts organic matter for organic geochemistry, isotope analysis, metagenomics and gene expression.
  • Pump-CTD and mini Pump-CTD system for continuous water sampling throughout the water column (max 300meter depth) that allows high resolution sampling of gradients in the water column as well as sampling of larger amounts of water for i.e. incubations from selected depths, without any contact with the atmosphere (i.e oxygen).
  • Surface multi-core and large gravity core (>1000 kg, 12 cm diameter, 12 m length) sediment sampling systems

isotope ratio monitoring mass spectrometer Trace-Gas IRMS
Instruments of the mass spec facility © Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
  • Delta Plus XP coupled to a Flash EA 112. Isotopic ratio mass spectrometer coupled to an elemental analyzer for the analysis of δ13C and δ15N on solid samples.
  • IsoPrime100 combined with a Trace Gas. Multicollector isotopic ratio- mass spectrometer for gas analysis of N2, N2O, NO, O2, CH4 and isotopomers on water or gas samples at low (nanomolar) concentrations.
  • Picarro G2201. Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer for carbon isotope analysis, it is coupled to an auto sampler (Automate FX) for dual or single δ13C isotopic analysis of CO2 (DIC) and CH4 from water or gas samples.
  • GAM200 InProcess Instrument. A membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) enabling us to do online, real time measurements of 29+30N2, O2 and Ar, with a variety of customized set-ups. Other applications include for example labeling percentage measurements of N2 for N2-fixation experiments.
Instruments of the single-cell imaging facility
Instruments of the single-cell imaging facility © Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
  • Laser microdissection microscope (Leica LMD6500) with 10x - 63x air objectives and fluorescent filters (DAPI, Cy3, Cy5, Alexa594). UV laser for cutting (wavelength: 355 nm, pulse frequency: 80 Hz, pulse length: < 4ns, avg. pulse energy 70 μJ) and visualization with a CC7000 color camera. 
  • Environmental scanning electron microscope (FEI Quanta 250 FEG) with a transmission electron detector (STEM), a Peltier cooling table and a Bruker double detector system for energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS). Accelerating voltages between 200 V to 30 kV and a resolution of 1.0 nm in high vacuum (30 kV, SE). Additionally, a SECOM platform (Delmic) is mounted on this ESEM for correlative light and electron microscopy.
  • Nanometer-scale secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS 50L, Cameca), an ion microprobe optimizing SIMS analysis performance at high lateral resolution. NanoSIMS 50L is equipped with a Cs+ and O- source and combines a very high spatial resolution (sub 50 nm) with a high mass resolution. The instrument is equipped with a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) magnet control. The multi-collection system of the nanoSIMS 50L allows the parallel aquisition of 7 masses with electron multiplier (EM) or Faraday cups (FC).
  • Confocal Raman micro-spectroscope (NTEGRA Spectra, NT-MDT) coupled to both an inverted Olympus IX71 as well as an upright microscope. A diode laser (785 nm, 300 mW) and a solid-state laser (532 nm, 50 mW). EMCCD and CCD camera (Andor Newton) for Raman measurements. Hybrid controller.
  • Scanning atomic force microscope (NT-MDT) with 830 nm IR laser  for measurements in liquid and air/gas environment in basic AFM modes.
  • Automated critical point dryer (Leica EM CPD300) for drying of biological specimens.
  • Sputter coater for metal (Au, Pt, Ag) coating of specimens.


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