Prof. Dr. Anton Wallner

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

News - FWIR

FWIR-Seminar: Francesca Quinto (KIT)

Radionuclide transport in crystalline host rock: insights from the in-situ experiments at the Grimsel Test Site (CH)

When: 20.03.2024, 15:30

Where: 712/138

The FWIR-Seminar usually takes place 15:30 on Wednesdays in the room 613/157 at the campus of HZDR. The seminar is in public and we warmly welcome any interested guests. A hybrid seminar with a zoom-link can be organized. Do not hesitate to contact us!


Nature Paper about the oldest human settlement in Europe

The oldest human settlement in Europe is located near the town of Korolevo in western Ukraine. New findings by an international team led by the Czech Academy of Sciences confirm that stone tools found in the lowest and therefore oldest excavation layer in Korolevo are 1.4 million years old. This was demonstrated by Johannes Lachner, Georg Rugel and Konstanze Stuebner and colleagues using 10Be and 26Al dating with AMS.

New Standard References for AMS

Prof. Anton Wallner publishes two new standard references to the topics "Accelerator Mass Spectrometry" and "Radionuclides from Stellar Explosions" on the same day. The history of AMS, recent developments and the most exciting applications are described impressively by Walter Kutschera, Timothy Jull, Michael Paul and Anton Wallner. The search for interstellar radionuclides, the theory of their production and transport to Earth as well as their discoveries were comprehensively summarized by Brian Fields and Anton Wallner.


Podcast to accelerator mass spectrometry

In the Resonator issue 191 in February 2023, Prof. Anton Wallner, head of the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research department, provides a fascinating insight into the diversity of his work with accelerator mass spectrometry. It is used to detect long-lived radionuclides that are naturally or man-made and, based on isotope signatures, can contribute to a better understanding of our environment and its changes.

HAMSTER on the run!

We decided on February 8th, 2022: Our new 1-MV AMS system will become a hamster den! HAMSTER (Helmholtz Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Tracing Environmental Radionuclides) will be one of the most versatile AMS systems in the world with the proven Pelletron technology from NEC, the highly efficient design analogous to VEGA, ANSTO and the new type of laser isobar suppression.


Diese künstlerische Darstellung zeigt die Staubbildung in der Umgebung einer Supernova-Explosion.

Trace elements of cosmic explosions

An international research team led by Prof. Anton Wallner has found new evidence of a series of supernova events that have taken place relatively close to Earth over the past 10 million years. In the journal Science, they report on their meticulous search for two different isotopes that originate in the explosive end of massive stars. With this, the scientists add an important, previously missing building block to our understanding of the formation of elements.

Stardust from the bottom of the ocean and Antarctica

Several thousand to tens of thousands of tons of cosmic dust trickle down to Earth every year. A small part comes to us from distant stars. Analysis of deep-sea sediment samples and 500 kg of Antarctic snow yielded the following result: For at least 33,000 years, the Earth has been wandering through a region of the interstellar medium that is enriched with stardust from past star explosions. Fresh stardust continues to fall to Earth today.



15.03.2024: Poster-Prize DPG Freiburg 2024

This years's poster prize of the MS division at the DPG conference in Freiburg goes to: Alexander Wieser!



08.03.2024: SPIN science festival - Science Slam

On Friday the 08.03.24 and Saturday the 09.03.24 the SPIN Science Festival will take place in Dresden. Dominik is at the start with a contribution to the Science Slam with the title: Wolkig mit Aussicht auf Sternenstaub. Come along for some exciting science.


06.03.2024: New Nature paper from us!

Johannes, Georg and Konstanze are co-authors of a spectacular new Nature paper with 10Be and 26Al dating of stone tools. See highlights.

CONGRATULATIONS on this great success, we are very proud of you!


08.11.2023: PhD Defence Dominik Koll

After more than 5 years, I finally got my PhD degree :-)

The best colleagues you could imagine designed a beautiful mortarboard.

I want to thank everybody who walked part of this way alongside me; without you, these years would have been less than half as enjoyable.



22.10.2023: Dresden Marathon

Our "Rennhamster" made a very good 10th place at the Dresden Marathon in the men's relay. Well done Sebastian, Alexander, Johannes und Renè Lutz!


19.09.2023: HZDR PhD Seminar Best Presentation: Dominik Koll

Dominik Koll received the Best Presentation Award in this years PhD Seminar of HZDR. His presentation: "Stardust on Earth and on the Moon" convinced a vast majority of the participating PhD student of HZDR. Well done!


29.09.2023: WIN Awardee 2023: Janis Wolf


Janis was awarded the Women in Nuclear prize 2023 for her excellent Master's Thesis about the "hot-topic": Study of Actinide Signatures as Potential Markers for the Anthropocenee. We are so proud of you!


25.09.2023: First guest in our new chemistry labs

Jenny Feige visited us for one week to process Atacama-soil samples for Be-10, Al-26, Mn-53 and Fe-60. We are very happy to have her around and wish her all the best for future measurements.


28.07.2023: Summer Students and RISE-DAAD Student

A warm welcome to Leonie und Pranav! Both are summer students as HZDR and will help us with some actinide chemistry and the laser setup, rerspectively.

Thank you Matt! Matt came to us from Canada as a RISE-DAAD student. He took geological samples from the Erzgebirge and processed them in our chemistry labs.


13.07.2023: Visitor group from Senckenberg Gesellschaft

We are happy about the visit of the group of Prof. Ulf Linnemann from the Senckenberg Gesellschaft. We showed them the DREAMS facility and ideas for collaborations and projects were discussed. Since many years, projects in analytics and geology are carried out in a fruitful cooperation.


29.06.2023: Funding of Dark Matter Research

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) funds the project "Super-SIMS to characterize ultra-low 40K concentrations in NaI crystals" with 7500 AUD. Associate Investigator Dominik Koll and the group "Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research" of HZDR will characterize detector materials of the experiment SABRE for their 40K content together with the project partner Dr. Zuzana Slavkovska and the team of the Australian National University. The primordial radionuclide 40K is a major contributor to the background level of the detectors in the experiment and requires extensive chemical and physical separation techniques. The characterization of the detector materials is a prerequisite for the success of the experiment. HZDR contributes to the success of SABRE by the members of the CDM Prof. Anton Wallner and Domink Koll.


13.06.2023: Kinder-Universität

The Kinder-Universität took place at TU Dresden on the 13.06.2023. This time with Dominik Koll from HZDR with the topic "Glühwürmchen oder Kugeln aus Gas – Was sind Sterne?"

Kids (age 8-12) can register under:

More than 400 kids were there and 150 joined online. Such a great event!


06.06.2023: Rewe Team Challenge

Our two teams "Rennhamster" and "Entspannte Rennhamster" aka "Bremshamster" participated in the Rewe Team Challenge. Our mixed-team ran to the first place of all HZDR mixed-teams. What an achievement!


11.03.2023: Earth Science Slam

What can interstellar dust tell us about times long gone by? Which stellar explosions has Earth flown through in the last million years of its history? Using latest modern research methods, stardust samples from Antarctic ice, from the deep sea or from the lunar surface can be analyzed. These are just some of the questions on which HZDR doctoral student Dominik Koll presented exciting findings from his doctoral thesis at the Earth Science Slam on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Under the dome of Dresden's Frauenkirche floated and turned a seven meter high, detailed image of the Earth. The impressive work of art "Gaia" shows visitors the beauty and at the same time the fragility of our planet.


Archive (from 2023)

Discovery of oldest permafrost in Siberia

An international team has set a new record when determining the age of a permafrost layer in Siberia: believe it or not, the ground at the deepest point is at least 650,000 years old. However, the research results also show how sensitive the soil is to disturbances – and how quickly it can be destroyed.

Exotic visitor from space

Anyone in northern Germany who turned their eyes to the sky on the afternoon of September 12, 2019 could witness an unusual spectacle: a bright streak of light flashed briefly, accompanied by a bang - a meteorite from space. The day after, a citizen of Flensburg reported a strange discovery: a table tennis ball-sized stone with an unusual appearance was lying in his garden. Since then, the "Flensburg meteorite" has caused a stir among experts.

Archive (before 2023)


erstellt von S. 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

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