Porträt Prof. Dr. Kvashnina, Kristina; FWOS

Prof. Dr. Kristina Kvashnina

Head of Department "Molecular Structures"
Responsible for the BM20 (ROBL) beamline at ESRF

Phone: +33 476 88 2367

Department of Molecular Structures

Molecular Structures


The Department of Molecular Structures conducts synchrotron-based research, offering a robust toolkit for scientists investigating materials containing actinides and lanthanides. Experiments take place at the Rossendorf Beamline of The European Synchrotron (ESRF), in Grenoble (France) which is specifically dedicated to the actinide science and research on radioactive waste disposal. The beamline consists of four experimental stations -XAFS, XES, XRD-1, XRD-2:

  • XAFS station with fluorescence and transmission detection for X-ray Absorption Fine-Structure (XAFS) spectroscopy, including (conventional) X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Structure (XANES) and Extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (EXAFS) spectroscopies
  • XES with a 5-crystal Johann-type spectrometer for high-energy-resolution fluorescence-detection X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (HERFD-XANES), X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) and resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) measurements.
  • XRD-1 station with a heavy-duty, Eulerian cradle, 6-circle goniometer for (high-resolution) powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), surface-sensitive crystal truncation rod (CTR) and resonant anomalous X-ray reflectivity (RAXR) measurements
  • XRD-2 station with a Pilatus3 x2M detector stage for single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD) and in situ/in-operando PXRD measurements.

Our research provides detailed insights into the structural and electronic properties of actinide and lanthanide-containing materials across various scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, environmental science, and geoscience. We study fundamental electron interactions, bonding properties, probing the local structures and oxidation states of complex systems. Data analysis is performed with the help of electronic structure calculations. 

EXAFS, HERFD-XANES, XES and RIXS is not restricted to crystalline solids, but can be applied to a wide range of samples, to derive information on e.g. aqueous speciation, complexation with dissolved inorganic ligands like chloride, sulfate or nitrate, complexation with organic ligands like acetate or humic acid, interaction with bacteria and plants, sorption to mineral and rock surfaces for actinides an other metals and metalloids. Due to the high penetration depth of the employed hard X-rays, the methods are suited to study chemical reactions in-situ/in-operando, for instance at very low or high temperatures, under special atmospheres, or under electrochemical potentials.

Latest Publication

Critical evaluation of chromium partitioning in iron (oxyhydr)oxide-rich laterites

Delina, R. E. G.; Perez, J. P. H.; Stammeier, J. A.; Bazarkina, E.; Benning, L. G.

Chromium (Cr) leached from iron (Fe) (oxyhydr)oxide-rich tropical laterites can substantially impact downstream groundwater, ecosystems and human health. However, its partitioning into mineral hosts, its binding, oxidation state and also potential release are poorly defined. This is in part due to the current lack of well-designed and validated Cr-specific sequential extraction procedures (SEPs) for laterites. To fill this gap, we have (i) first optimized a Cr SEP for Fe (oxyhydr)oxide-rich laterites using synthetic and natural Cr-bearing minerals and laterite references, (ii) we used a complementary suite of techniques and critically evaluated existing non-laterite and non-Cr optimized SEPs, compared to our optimized SEP and (iii) confirmed the efficiency of our new SEP through analyses of laterites from the Philippines. Our results show that other SEPs inadequately leach Cr host phases and underestimated the Cr fractions. Our SEP recovered up to seven times higher Cr contents because it (a) more efficiently dissolves metal-substituted Fe phases, (b) quantitatively extracts adsorbed Cr, and (c) prevents overestimation of organic Cr in laterites. With this new SEP, we can estimate the mineral specific Cr fractionation in Fe-rich tropical soils more quantitatively, and thus improve our knowledge of the potential environmental impacts of Cr from lateritic areas.

Keywords: chromium; HERFD -XANES; laterite; sequential extraction procedures

Involved research facilities

Related publications


  • Secondary publication expected from 29.03.2025



Most team members are permanently at the ESRF in Grenoble (France).

ROBL Group Picture 2017/12 ©Copyright: HZDR/Denis Morel

ROBL Group Picture 2017/12

Foto: HZDR/Denis Morel



NameBld./Office+49 351 260Email
Prof. Dr. Kristina KvashninaROBL/21.6.04+33 476 88 2367


NameBld./Office+49 351 260Email
Dr. Lucia AmidaniROBL/14.1.04+33 476 88 1982
Dr. Nils BaumannROBL/21.6.03+33 476 88 2849
Jörg ExnerROBL/BM20+33 476 88 2372
Dr. Christoph HennigROBL/21.6.02a+33 476 88 2005
Dr. Damien PrieurROBL/21.6.03+33 476 88 2463
Dr. André Roßberg801/P3162758