Characterization of Biogeochemical Processes at the Microscale

Concepts and Applications of NanoSIMS

Authored by: Carsten W. Mueller , Laurent Remusat , Cornelia Rumpel

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Infrastructures

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498751315
eBook ISBN: 9781315368252
Adobe ISBN:


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Nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) is a state-of-the-art analytical technique allowing for the visualization of the distribution of up to seven isotopes in environmental samples at high lateral resolution. The use of this technique combined with stable isotope labeling and other microscale methods will advance our understanding of biochemical cycles. Particularly, NanoSIMS has a high potential to generate new knowledge concerning functioning of microbial communities and biogeochemical interfaces because it allows for studying biogeochemical processes at the relevant scales, where they occur. In this chapter, we present this technique and its limitations and applications in recent biogeochemical research. Moreover, we show through some examples of significant advances achieved by the use of NanoSIMS how this may lead to changing paradigms in environmental sciences.

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