Prof. Dr. Anton Wallner

Head Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research
Phone: +49 351 260 3274

News - FWIR

Press releases:

Foto: Interstellar cloud - deposition of iron-60 in deep sea sediments (ref) ©Copyright: HZDR/Juniks/ NASA/Goddard/Adler/U.Chicago/Wesleyan

Sternenstaub vom Meeresgrund: Forscher*innen finden Supernova-Spuren in Sedimenten aus der Tiefsee

Unser Sonnensystem bewegt sich mit hoher Geschwindig­keit durchs All. Auf seiner Reise können geringe Spuren von interstellarem Material eindringen und auch auf die Erde gelangen. Ein internationales Team von Wissen­schaftler*innen des Helmholtz-Zentrums Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), der TU Berlin, der Uni­versität Wien sowie Kolleg*innen aus Australien beschreibt in der Fachzeitschrift Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (DOI:10.1073/pnas.1916769117) die Analyse von Tiefsee-Sedimentproben, die rund 1000 Kilo­meter vor der Südwestspitze Australiens genommen wurden. Ihr Ergebnis: Die Erde wandert seit mindestens 33.000 Jahren durch eine interstellare Wolke.
Foto: Meteorite Flensburg (Ref.) ©Copyright: Dieter Heinlein

Exotischer Besucher aus dem All

Wer in Norddeutschland am Nachmittag des 12. September 2019 die Augen gegen den Himmel richtete, konnte Zeuge eines ungewöhnlichen Schauspiels werden: Kurz blinkte ein heller Lichtstreif auf, begleitet von einem Knall – ein Meteorit aus dem Weltall. Am Tag danach ­vermeldete ein Bürger aus Flensburg einen seltsamen Fund: In seinem Garten lag ein tischtennisballgroßer Stein von ungewöhnlichem Aussehen. Seitdem ­versetzt der „Flensburg-Meteorit“ die Fachwelt in Aufre­gung: Er zeigt bemerkenswerte Eigen­schaften, etwa eine auffällig geringe Dichte. Mittlerweile beteiligen sich etwa 20 Arbeits­gruppen an der Analyse – darun­ter Teams vom Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), dem dazugehörigen Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Res­sourcen­tech­no­logie (HIF) sowie vom VKTA – Strahlen­schutz, Analytik & Entsor­gung Rossendorf e.V.
Foto: Supernova Zentrum Casa ©Copyright: NASA/CXC/SAO

Stardust in the Antarctic

E­very year, se­veral thousand to tens of thousands of tons of cosmic dust shower down on the Earth. Most of these tiny particles come from asteroids and comets in our solar system. A small proportion, howe­ver, comes from remote stars. The iron-60 isotope contained in these particles is particularly interesting. Natural sources of this isotope do not exist on Earth. On the other hand, exploding stars, so-called supernovae, emit large quantities of iron-60. Researchers at the Technical Uni­versity of Munich (TUM), in collaboration with colleagues at two Helmholtz Centers, have now disco­vered iron-60 in the Antarctic for the first time. They have been able to draw spectacular conclusions from their findings.
Foto: Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra - Ausschnitt (Foto: Dbachmann, CC BY-SA 3.0, ©Copyright: Dbachmann, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Chemische Kriminaltechnik in der Archäo­logie

Gemeinsame Pressemittei­lung von HZDR, Staatliche Kunstsamm­lungen Dresden und Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden - 10.01.2017: Öffentlicher Abendvortrag "Chemische Kriminaltechnik in der Archäo­logie" am 12.01.17 um 19 Uhr in der Schlosskapelle des Dresdner Residenzschlosses; Eintritt frei

Older press releases

ECHo-Team an DREAMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

ECHo-Team at DREAMS: f.l.t.r.: Felix Wiescher (JGU Mainz), Oliver Forstner (FSU Jena & HI Jena), Christoph Düllmann (GSI Darmstadt, JGU Mainz, HI Mainz), Holger Dorrer (JGU Mainz), Klaus Wendt (JGU Mainz), Silke Merchel & Georg Rugel (HZDR, HI Freiberg) and Tom Kieck (JGU Mainz) Photo: Silke Merchel

November 2017 - The ECHo (Electron Capture in Holmium Experiment) team performs experiments at DREAMS.

Development of AMS at DREAMS for experimental determination of the ratio 163Ho/166mHo in ECHo samples. The long-lived 166mHo (t1/2=1200 a) is an unwanted by-product of the 163Ho (t1/2=4570 a) production, which is reduced to ultra-low levels (~10-9) after sophisticated mass separation. For a background-free measurement of the 163Ho spectrum in the ECHo metallic magnetic calorimeters the absence of 166mHo is critical.

Lisa LUNA, U Potsdam ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Lisa LUNA, U Potsdam

Photo: Silke Merchel

June 2017 - DREAMS user Lisa Luna (U Potsam; now: NewClimate Institute for Climate Policy and Global Sustainability, Berlin) receives the graduation award (1.000 Euro) of the university of Potsdam 2017. She graduated in geosciences with her MSc work "A glacial chronology and cosmogenic nuclide cross calibration from the central southern Andean Plateau (Puna, 24°S)“. The university of Potsdam gives this yearly award to persons who show a high potential for scienctific work and further qualification. The work was performed under the supervision of Bodo Bookhagen, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science. Further information (in German only) can be found here: "Alumni des Monats 06/2017 - Lisa Luna ".

BMBF Verbundprojekt ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

BMBF Verbundprojekt: f.l.t.r.: Andreas Scharf (IBC, HZDR), Jenny Feige (TU Berlin), Hans Hofsäß & Felipe Bregolin (U Göttingen), Silke Merchel & Georg Rugel (HIF, HZDR), Andreas Gärtner (Senckenberg Dresden). Photo: Silke Merchel

January 2017 - Meeting of project partners for BMBF-Förderung „Erforschung kondensierter Materie“ - Entwicklung einer effizienten Hochstromionenquelle für Untersuchungen von Mikrometeoriten mit Beschleunigermassenspektrometrie (Project part 1 (U Göttingen); Project part 2 (TU Berlin) at the Ion Beam Centre (IBC)

Elsevier Highlight 2016 ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Screenshot of Elsevier Highlight 2016 © Elsevier

Dezember 2016 - Treasure in ice core waste: Elsevier promotes our Open-Access-Paper in Results in Physics by making it a "Highlight".
Original publication (Microarticle): L. Zipf, S. Merchel, P. Bohleber, G. Rugel, A. Scharf, Exploring ice core drilling chips from a cold Alpine glacier for cosmogenic radionuclide (10Be) analysis, Results in Physics 6 (2016) 78-79.

Posterpreis 2016 ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Posterpreis 2016

Photo: Silke Merchel

October 2016 - "Self-praise? - Never mind!" We are really proud about our second place in the poster competition at the "Archäometrie und Denkmalpflege" meeting in Göttingen for our German poster "Bestimmung langlebiger Radionuklide mittels Beschleunigermassenspektrometrie (AMS) für archäometrische Fragestellungen".

kompilation supernova erde TEM Tandem ©Copyright: NASA/CXC/SAO//TUM

kompilation supernova erde TEM Tandem


August 2016 - The first PNAS paper with DREAMS-data is published:

P. Ludwig, S. Bishop, R. Egli, V. Chernenko, B. Deneva, T. Faestermann, N. Famulok, L. Fimiani, J.M. Gómez-Guzmán, K. Hain, G. Korschinek, M. Hanzlik, S. Merchel, G. Rugel, Time-Resolved Two Million Year Old Supernova Activity Discovered in the Earth's Microfossil Record, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 113 (2016) 9232–9237.

More information can be found in the common press release "Discovery of a time-resolved supernova signal in Earth’s microfossils".

Rock fall Namibia ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Rock fall Namibia

Photo: Silke Merchel

April 2016 - Size does matter! ;-)

Succesful sampling of big boulders from a rock fall in Namibia.

Beispiel für die expandierenden Überreste einer Supernova: Keplers Supernova explodierte in 13.000 Lichtjahren Entfernung im Sternbild Schlangenträger (Ophiuchus). Sternengucker wie der berühmte Astronom Johannes Kepler konnten sie schon vor 400 Jahren beobachten. ©Copyright: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University) / CC BY 3.0

Photo: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University) / CC BY 3.0


April 2016 - The first Nature paper with DREAMS-data is published:

A. Wallner, J. Feige, N. Kinoshita, M. Paul, L.K. Fifield, R. Golser, M. Honda, U. Linnemann, H. Matsuzaki, S. Merchel, G. Rugel, S.G. Tims, P. Steier, T. Yamagata, S.R. Winkler, Recent near-Earth supernovae probed by global deposition of interstellar radioactive 60Fe, Nature 532 (2016) 69-72.
A.L. Melott has been so excited about our research results and of those of our colleagues Breitschwerdt et al. that he decided to summarize both Nature papers in his publication "Stellar astrophysics: Supernovae in the neighbourhood". Or as we say here: A supernova seldom comes alone.

You can read more on this in the press release.

Bhim Kali boulder on top of sediment deposits near Pokhara in Nepal. ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Bhim Kali boulder on top of sediment deposits near Pokhara in Nepal.

Photo: C. Andermann, GFZ.

December 2015 - The first Science paper with DREAMS-data is published:

W. Schwanghart, A. Bernhardt, A. Stolle, P. Hoelzmann, B.R. Adhikari, C. Andermann,
S. Tofelde, S. Merchel, G. Rugel, M. Fort, O. Korup, Repeated catastrophic valley infill following medieval earthquakes in the Nepal Himalaya, Science Express.

A press conference at the AGU Fall meeting introduced our paper and the one of Kargel et al. (Science Express) to the public. Instant notice was taken e.g. by Nature News.

Thanks to our coauthors for sampling this big guy and trusting DREAMS to determine a 10Be exposure age as low as 330 years!

October 2015 - DREAMS-User Dr. Jenny Feige (VERA, U Vienna; now TU Berlin) receives the "Klaus Tschira Preis für verständliche Wissenschaft" for her German paper "Astronomie unter dem Meer" (astronomy under the sea).


Dissertation Stefan Pavetich ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Dissertation Stefan Pavetich

Photo: Silke Merchel

October 2015 - Stefan Pavetich succesfully defends his PhD thesis "Determination of non-routine radionuclides by medium-energy accelerator mass spectrometry" at the TU Dresden - Congratulations, Dr. Pavetich! And best wishes for your Post-Doc at ANU!

Jenny Feige Dissertation Award ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Jenny Feige Dissertation Award

Photo: Silke Merchel

September 2015 - DREAMS-User Dr. Jenny Feige (VERA, U Vienna; now TU Berlin) receives the dissertation award of the division nuclear chemistry of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh) for her work "Supernova-Produced Radionuclides in Deep-Sea Sediments Measured with AMS“. Prof. Christoph Düllmann hands the award over.

FWGA-I auf der langen Nacht der Wissenschaften ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften

Photos: Silke Merchel, Stephan Floss, Jana Grämer, Tina Schulz

July 2015 - Team "Ion beam Analytics" brings light to the "Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften" (Researchers’ Night)...

Team building activity 2015 ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Team building activity 2015

Photo: Silke Merchel

June 2015 - Team building activity (HIF-Group IBA) in "Saxon Switzerland" (with guest from Switzerland and IBC-colleague)

January 2015 - Georg Rugel publishes with colleagues from Canberra, Wien, Garching, Jerusalem and Darmstadt in Nature Communications about "Abundance of live 244Pu in deep-sea reservoirs on Earth points to rarity of actinide nucleosynthesis".

Fieldwork in Namibia ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Fieldwork in Namibia

Photo: Mandy Hofmann

January 2015 - Our DFG-project "Evolution of the western Namibian drainage systems since Eocene times – a multi-methodical approach" together with Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden starts with taking samples in Namibia. 

ANSTO and VERA colleagues at DREAMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

ANSTO and VERA colleagues at DREAMS

Photo: Silke Merchel

November/December 2014 - Knowledge-transfer: ANSTO- and VERA-colleagues Mike Hotchkis (2. from left), Peter Steier (2. from right) and Stephan Winkler (right) help us to develop actinides-AMS at DREAMS.

Anton Wallner (ANU), Gunther Korschinek (TUM) and Michaela Fröhlich (ANU) at DREAMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Anton Wallner (ANU), Gunther Korschinek (TUM) and Michaela Fröhlich (ANU) at DREAMS. Photos: Silke Merchel

October 2014 - The HIAF scientists Anton Wallner (left) and Michaela Fröhlich (right) from the ANU in Canberra (DAAD project AUGEAS) help us again to perform heavy element mass spectrometry experiments and meet members of the User Selection Panel (Gunther Korschinek, TUM (middle) of the ion beam center.

Malin Lüdicke and DREAMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Malin Lüdicke and DREAMS. Photos: Silke Merchel

September 2014 - Our trainee, Malin Lüdicke (TU Dresden), learned how to do 10Be sample preparation, but also re-designed DREAMS.

Super-SIMS Housing ((c) Oliver Killig) ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke, HZDR/Oliver Killig

Super-SIMS Housing Photo: HZDR/Oliver Killig

July 2014 - Report (in German) about the Super-SIMS in the HZDR-Forschungsmagazin "entdeckt" - Ionen auf der Überholspur (picture by Oliver Killig).

Führung zum Tag des offenen Labors:

Guided tour at the IBC

Photo: Silke Merchel

Mai 2014 - Hundreds of visitors took the chance at the Tag des offenen Labors (Open day) to go on a guided tour led by the ion beam analytics group of HIF.

April 2014 - Our paper about the didicated ion source for volatiles is published.

S. Pavetich, S. Akhmadaliev, M. Arnold, G. Aumaître, D. Bourlès, J. Buchriegler, R. Golser, K. Keddadouche, M. Martschini, S. Merchel, G. Rugel, P. Steier, Interlaboratory study of the ion source memory effect in 36Cl accelerator mass spectrometry, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. in Phys. Res. B Nucl. Instr. and Meth. in Phys. Res. B 329 (2014) 22–29.

Paper Wiedenbeck et al. ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Screenshot of Wiedenbeck et al. paper's published by GGR © GGR

April 2014 - Our review paper reaches "Number One" of "Most accessed papers throughout 2013" of Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research (GGR). Our paper has achieved the highest download statistics (currently > 1400) ever for GGR.

M. Wiedenbeck, R. Bugoi, M.J.M. Duke, T. Dunai, J. Enzweiler, M. Horan, K.P. Jochum, K. Linge, J. Košler, S. Merchel, L. Morales, L. Nasdala, R. Stalder, P. Sylvester, U. Weis, A. Zoubir, Critical Review of Analytical Developments since 2010, Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 36 (2012) 337-398.

Correct height for SIMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Adjusting the correct height for SIMS. Photo: Silke Merchel

February 2014 - As the Super-SIMS-source has now its own "home", the installation starts by adjusting its height to the accelerator.

Arrival Super-SIMS-Source ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke, René Ziegenrücker, FWGA

Arrival Super-SIMS-Source

Photo: Silke Merchel, René Ziegenrücker, FWGA

December 2013 - Arrival of the CAMECA IMS 7f-Auto - our new ion source for the Super-SIMS project.

ANU @ HZDR ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke


Photo: Silke Merchel

September 2013 - We perform our first heavy element mass spectrometry experiments together with HIAF-scientists from Canberra (DAAD-project AUGEAS) at DREAMS.

Poster award Darmstadt ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Poster award Darmstadt

Photo: Silke Merchel

September 2013 - We are proud to annouce that René has received a poster award! He presented our poster entitled "High-Speed PIXE – schnelle Multielementanalyse mit Ionenstrahlen" (R. Ziegenrücker, J. Buchriegler, D. Hanf, J. Gutzmer, S. Ihle, S. Merchel, F. Munnik, A.D. Renno, G. Rugel, O. Scharf) at the annual meeting of the nuclear chemistry division, which took place at Darmstadt as part of the GDCh-Wissenschaftsforum.

Grundstein Super-SIMS Haus-in-Haus ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Photo: Silke Merchel

August 2013 - "First stone laying" of the Super-SIMS House-in-House.

DREAMS @ ANU ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke


Photo: Silke Merchel

May 2013 - DREAMS scientists "learn" heavy element mass spectrometry at the HIAF @ ANU, Canberra (DAAD project AUGEAS).


First HS-PIXE "picture" Photo: Silke Merchel


18th December 2012 - First "element picture" taken at the HS-PIXE-Beamline.

Lisa Michel und Rebecca Schmidt ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Lisa Michel and Rebecca Schmidt

Photo: Silke Merchel

September 2012 - The HIF trainees within the TU Dresden project "Lehrer studiert Unternehmen" (Lisa Michel and Rebecca Schmidt) are preparing AMS samples from manganese nodules.

Maurice Arnold ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Maurice Arnold

Photo: Silke Merchel

September 2012 - The DFG supports our bilateral Networking (FRALAMS) with ASTER, Aix-en-Provence, France: Maurice Arnold @ DREAMS.

Gabbro Super-SIMS ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Gabbro Super-SIMS

Photo: Silke Merchel

28th August 2012 - Installation of the 6.4 tons heavy Gabbro plate for Super-SIMS experiment.

Dominique Brising ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Dominique Brising

Photo: Silke Merchel

August 2012 - First HIF trainee in the IBA group: Dominique Brising (TUBAF).

Arrival of Super-SIMS source ©Copyright: Dr. Merchel, Silke

Arrival of Super-SIMS source

Photo: Silke Merchel

Das Sekundärionenmassenspektrometer (SIMS) des Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrums GFZ zieht von Potsdam nach Dresden um. ©Copyright: GFZ

SIMS moves from Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrums GFZ in Potsdam to HZDR in Dresden

Photo: GFZ / Elisabeth Gantz

9th May 2012 - Arrival of Super-SIMS ion source.

Press coverage:

March 2012 - First HIF trainee within the TU Dresden project "Lehrer studiert Unternehmen": Andreas Rieseler


Prof. Dr. Anton Wallner

Head Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research
Phone: +49 351 260 3274