The pettiest measuring device
Its field of application is diverse, yet very precisely defined. It helps to research the global climate and identifies rare raw materials - in an exacting manner and down to the single atom: the secondary ion mass spectrometer. Worldwide exist only very few of these devices with their extremely precise technology. One of them is housed at the Helmholtz Centre in Potsdam
The GFZ has been operating a SIMS laboratory since 1998, where scientists from all across the globe examine their rock samples. More than 100 projects have already been processed with partners from 22 countries. The new SIMS, in operation since December 2013, now makes this not only faster, but even more precise. The device is about twenty times faster and five times more accurate than the predecessor model. Guest researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute currently investigate oxygen isotopes in micro fossils at the GFZ's SIMS. Thanks to this new technology, these nanogramme lightweight protozoa with an opal skeleton now can tell us even more about the history of the oceans.