GeoPlasma Lab Geochronologie
View into the GeoPlasma Geochronology Lab with two RESOlution 193 nm excimer laser systems from asi and single-collector Element XR, multi-collector Neoma and triple-quadrupole iCAP TQ mass spectrometers from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Museum of Mineralogy and Geology


The Geochronology Section of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden exists since 2007. It comprises three laboratories for sample preparation and one geochronology laboratory with three mass spectrometers and two laser ablation systems.

Our research contributes to the Senckenberg Research Activity 4.1 “Evolving earth and Environment” and deals mainly with the question of the timing of geological and biological processes and important events of the geological and biological evolution of our planet.


Geochronology Lab
Our main research activity is based on elemental- and isotopic-based analyses of different rocks and geological/biogene minerals using LA-ICP-MS (Laser Ablation with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroskopy). For this purpose we have two excimer laser systems operating at a wavelength of 193nm (RESOlution SE, RESOlution LR) of asi and three mass spectrometers from Thermo Fisher Scientific (single-collector Element XR and iCAP TQ, multi-collector Neoma).

Our primary focus lies on analyzing detrital, magmatic, and metamorphic minerals regarding their uranium- and –lead-contents (age determination, provenance analyses) and their trace elements. Apart from zircon we also work with apatite, rutile, titanite, monazite, calcite, phosphate minerals and others, as well as uranium-bearing rocks (e.g. limestone, dolomite).

Depending on the scientific and analytical requirements, different reference material and standards are available.

Our laser system is equipped with the extra-large laser cell S155 and several sample holders, allowing up to 20 single mounts with sample material, several thin sections, or complete rock specimens of several centimeters in size to be analyzed.

Sample Preparation Labs


The different labs for sample preparation at the SNSD are equipped with machines for sample crushing (jaw crusher, rock squeezer), sample separation and –cleaning (sifting machines, shaking table, ultrasonic units, fume cupboard with separating funnel and associated lab equipment), and a grinding-and polishing-machine.



Minerals of interest can either be picked per Hand under a polarization microscope and fixed in a mount, or be analyzed in-situ directly from a thin section or a small rock sample.

For further analyses prior to U-Pb dating there is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) EVO 50 from Zeiss available at the SNSD. This ca be used for morphology studies on minerals (high-resolution images of 3D objects using BSE or SE detectors), determining of minerals and inclusions (EDX analyses), and investigations of the internal structure on polished mineral surfaces (CL detector).