Dr. Silke Merchel

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research
Phone: +43 1 4277 51716
+49 179 4936942

How to get AMS data from DREAMS for external users

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External users can get accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) data of their samples for free on a basis of a proposal procedure. The scientific quality of the proposals is evaluated and ranked by an external international User Selection Panel.

Users have to submit their proposal via the HZDR GATE platform. Further information can be found at “Application for beam time at the Ion Beam Center (IBC)”.

Basics steps are:

1. Register at the HZDR GATE platform

  • Create an Account (Username, Password - min. 6 characters, case sensitive)
  • Type in Personal information (Email, Title, Family name, Given name, Birthday, Citizenship, Gender)
  • Preferred User Office: IBC (IBC: Ion Beam Center)
  • Select your scientific preference(s): up to 3 out of Chemistry, Earth Sciences & Environment, Energy, Engineering & technology, Humanities, ICT, Life Sciences & Biotech, Material Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Social Sciences

HZDR GATE platform for AMS Step 1

  • Type in your Affiliation (Organisation/Institute, Department, City, Country,…)
  • Decide if you want to receive further Information/Newsletters
  • Confirm that you have read the data security issues and terms and conditions for user access
  • Wait for the confirmation email as your accound needs to be approved by the user-office prior submitting proposals and these approval maytake up to two business days
  • Important! You also have to confirm the registration within 24 hours after receiving the HZDR's user office email!

HZDR GATE platform for AMS

2. Prepare two documents for your proposal

  • Select the template (Word file) for the Scientific Case according to the type of your project:

    • The template for a Pilot Project (up to 2 shifts, i.e. 16 hours) can be found here.

    • The template for a Standard Project can be found here.

  • Select the “Accelerator mass spectrometry template” for the preparation of your Experimental Plan, which can be found here.

  • Both documents need to be converted into pdf-files (max. size 1 MB each) for proposal submission.

3. Login as User and Submit a new proposal

  • Type in Title and Abstract (copy of the relevant parts of the proposal, no need to rewrite it) of max. 1000 characters
  • Select Proposal type: Standard
  • Select Scientific College: IBC User Selection Panel for the Ion Beam Center
  • Select your Main research area: 1 out of Chemistry, Earth Sciences & Environment, Energy, Engineering & technology, Humanities, ICT, Life Sciences & Biotech, Material Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Social Sciences
  • Select 1 Scientific Category out of:

HZDR GATE platform for AMS Step 3

  • Funding is not possible for AMS/IBC
  • Upload “Scientific Case” document as pdf (max. 2 pages, 1 MB)

HZDR GATE platform for AMS Step 4

  • Add potential Co-proposer, e.g. Anton Wallner, Johannes Lachner, Silke Merchel and/or Georg Rugel

HZDR GATE platform for AMS Step 5

  •  Input technical requirement such as
    • Select Beamline accelerator mass spectrometry
    • Select Preferred local contact e.g. Merchel, Silke
    • the Requested beamtime (1 nuclide in 1 sample ~ 1 h; plus every 7 samples 1 standard and 1 blank, 1 h each) is calculated automatically by the experimental plan. Example: 10Be in 6 samples: 6 h + 1 h + 1 h = 8 h = 1 shift.
    • Leave Preferred dates open or contact us.
    • Upload “Experimental Case” document as pdf (max. 2 pages, 1 MB)
      • Select Spokes person for the proposal
      • Select Collaborating partner from HZDR, e.g. Anton Wallner or Silke Merchel
      • Select Type of project (Pilot or Standard)
    • Give information about relation of proposal to PhD thesis and reviewed research grant
      • Select if project is a new proposal, an extension, …(please contact us if you are not sure)
      • Give information on any Hazards
      • Give information if your samples are radioactive, ...(please contact the radiation safety officers ( if you are not sure)
      • Press several times “Next step” and do not forget to press “Submit”HZDR GATE platform for AMS Step 6
  • Wait for evaluation results
  • Put yourself as "Responsible Experimentalist" and NOT one of us


  • Is there a proposal deadline?
    • No.
  • How long does the evaluation of the proposal take?
    • Days to weeks.
  • How can I send processed samples (e.g. for hands-off projects)?
    • Send BeO/Nb (1:4 by weight) and/or Al2O3/Ag (1:1 by weight) pressed in "HVEE" Cu cathodes with steel pins without any labelling on the cathode - AgCl CANNOT be send by as pressed cathodes!
    • Cathodes should NOT be labelled. They should be placed in containers. The containers should be labelled with "Your sample name" on the cap and the container leaving places emtpy for individual "DREAMS names" (see picture; red crosses) - Use a black pen for 10Be samples and a blue pen for 26Al samples
    • Send sample information electronically - before sending samples - including
      • Proposal number
      • Sample name
      • Expected isotope ratio for each sample (10Be/9Be and/or 26Al/27Al)
      • Amount of BeO [mg] and Nb [mg] and Al2O3 [mg] and Ag [mg] for each sample, respectively
      • If you submit more than one batch, indicate priorities and put samples in measuring order i.e. each processing blank BEFORE corresponding samples
    • Mailing adress is: Prof. Anton Wallner, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Bautzner Landstr. 400, 01328 Dresden, Germany
  • Can all nuclides being measured the same time?
    • No and yes. We measure ratios of nuclides of one element from one chemically prepared sample (e.g. BeO) together. So we use DREAMS for usually a full week for this measure 10Be/9Be and - if wanted -  7Be/9Be. In a second week, we use DREAMS for another nuclide ratio (e.g. 26Al/27Al from Al2O3 chemically prepared from the same sample material as BeO). Thus, it can happen that you will receive first resulst of all of your samples for a single nuclide ratio of one element only and then have to wait for a few weeks for the other nuclide ratio of another element. Ths is currently also true for actinides, i.e. one time ALL Pu ratios and another time ALL U ratios.
  • Can (in-situ produced) 14C be measured at DREAMS?
    • No, the 6 MV accelerator of DREAMS will not be used for measuring 14C.
      Please, contact e.g. our RADIATE partner ETH for AMS measurements of in-situ produced 14C.
  • Can cosmogenic noble gases be measured at DREAMS?
    • No, the accelerator is not suitable for analyzing noble gases by AMS.

Your proposal is successful - What´s next?

  1. For hand-on proposal, contact us to discuss about the length and the timing of your stay. There is no need for a special chemistry/safety knowledge or training BEFORE arrival.

  2. Get www-access via Eduroam at your home institute before you come.

  3. Book the guest house for sample preparation and AMS measurements (also during night-shifts) on your own costs - guest house request form. Your HZDR-contact for using the AMS chemistry labs is Silke Merchel; for AMS in general Anton Wallner.
    The infrastructure is DREAMS @ IBC.

  4. Alternative accommodation are available at Dresden city centre, but are not much recommended due to exceptional working hours.

  5. Read papers from for AMS measurements (Merchel et al., GIT, 2012 (in German); Akhmadaliev et al., NIMB 2013; Rugel et al., NIMB 2016) and sample preparation (Merchel and Herpers, RCA 1999).

  6. See other information at such as movie about AMS @ DREAMS and animation about AMS target preparation.

Additional information for your arrival at HZDR

  1. For reaching HZDR, which is about 10 km North-eastern from the city centre of Dresden, see “How to find us”. If you arrive at Dresden Central Station by train (Hauptbahnhof) or long-distance bus (Hauptbahnhof - Bayrische Strasse), it is a bit tricky to find the bus station for the bus 261 (direction: Sebnitz). Here, is a map  for detailed instructions:

    Wegbeschreibung Haltestelle 261 Hauptbahnhof ©Copyright: Made by User (K. Boie)
  2. Important! If you take the bus 261, do NOT get off the bus at "Siedlung Rosssendorf". The bus stop is called "Rossendorf Forschungszentrum". Bus tickets (single ticket = Einzelfahrschein or ticket for four trips = 4er-Karte) can be purchased from the bus driver.

  3. To enter the HZDR site you need a passport or any other document with a picture. You will get an access card for the length of your stay.

  4. You will get a map indicating building 712, where our office (room 303, phone 2802) and the AMS (please, phone 2189 while AMS beam time) is. If you need first access to the accelerator building after 19 h, you have to phone 2189 or 3252 as the door of the building 712 might be closed.

  5. If you have a laptop, please bring it to HZDR. It can be quite useful when working in the lab and/or while night-shifts.

  6. There is no need to bring your own lab coat or safety goggles.

  7. Our security staff is on duty 24/7, thus, you can arrive and pick-up your guest house key whenever you want, when you have a reservation. However, please be aware of scarcity of public transportation in the evening and on weekends.

  8. We have a canteen on site, which is open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch (until 13:30 h). If you arrive late, there is only minimal food supply at the canteen from a vending machine.
    Attention! Due to Covid restrictions, we have to book you in advance for having lunch at the cantine! There is currently limited breakfast option!

  9. The nearest shopping possibility is at Dresden-Weissig, which is four bus stops (~ 5.5 km) away from HZDR.

  10. A cash machine is situated at the main entrance.


Dr. Silke Merchel

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Isotope Research
Phone: +43 1 4277 51716
+49 179 4936942