Synchrotrons and Geochemistry: A Workshop for Novices and Experts

June 28 – 29, 2021

We invite you to attend a 2-day virtual workshop that focuses on applications of synchrotron science to geochemical research.  This workshop targets both those who are less familiar with synchrotron sources – paging all graduate students! – and experienced users who are eager to learn about and to discuss the next generation of synchrotron capabilities for geochemical research.  The symposium is being organized by the Steering Committee for Synchrotron Earth Science in response to NSF’s announcement that it is seeking the creation of a new organization to oversee the development of analytical instruments for geoscience research at synchrotron light sources.

Rationale for the Workshop

The last ten years have witnessed major advances in the application of synchrotron tools by Earth scientists to studies in both low-temperature geochemistry (soil science, contaminant geochemistry, biogeochemistry, oceanography) and high-temperature geochemistry (petrology, ore deposits, hydrothermal systems, cosmochemistry).  The newest generation of X-ray light sources available to Earth scientists at US Department of Energy National Laboratories, including ultra-high emittance upgrades now being implemented, offer orders-of-magnitude increases in brightness, coherence, sensitivity, and spatial resolution.

These advances are coupled with innovative developments that have led to improved efficiency and to the ability to interrogate samples at ever smaller length scales and under a variety of conditions. Enhancements include improvements in X-ray optics, detector efficiency, technologies for multimodal analysis, new sample environments for in-situ and in-operando analysis of Earth materials under a variety of Earth- and space-relevant conditions, and new approaches to data processing that increasingly take advantage of machine learning. As a result, Earth scientists are poised for a revolution in the characterization of systems that have long lain beyond the reach of conventional techniques:  in-operando studies of fluids and nanophases; soft tissue nanotomography; 3D-imaging of trace elements across the periodic table; and multi-modal coupling of spectroscopic techniques that allow researchers to evaluate simultaneously the chemistry and crystallography of a system. 


This virtual workshop will feature presentations on the applications of synchrotrons to a range of fields in geochemistry from 20 Earth scientists using these techniques in their research today.  Further, synchrotron facility representatives will provide the community with perspectives on future facility developments.  At the conclusion of the workshop, stakeholders from across the geochemistry community are invited to participate in a round-table discussion leading to a white paper on the future of geochemical research at synchrotron light sources.


Participation in this workshop is free, but all participants must register.  To register, please fill out the registration form below:

Jointly hosted by the GeoSoilEnviro Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (GSECARS) and the Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES).

Workshop Organizers are:

Peter Heaney (Penn State University)
Joanne Stubbs and Tony Lanzirotti (GSECARS/Univ. Chicago)
Paul Fenter (Argonne National Laboratory)
Satish C. Myneni (Princeton University)
Ben Gilbert (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Thomas Duffy (Princeton University)


Workshop Contacts

Peter Heaney

Pennsylvania State University

Antonio Lanzirotti

Research Associate Professor
Center for Advanced Radiation Sources
The University of Chicago

Joanne Stubbs

Research Associate Professor
Center for Advanced Radiation Sources
The University of Chicago


  • Irene Calvo Almazon (Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Ludmilla Aristilde (Northwestern University)
  • Aaron Bell (U Colorado-Boulder)
  • Maryjo Brounce (UC-Riverside)
  • Anthony Chappaz (Central Michigan Univ.)
  • Ethan Crumlin (Advanced Light Source)
  • Jim Evans (Utah State University)
  • David Fike (Washington U-St. Louis)
  • Sasha Kravchenko (Michigan State U)
  • Sang Soo Lee (Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Christina Lopano (DOE NETL)
  • Marion Louvel (Universitat Munster)
  • Marc Michel (Virginia Tech)
  • Catherine Peters (Princeton U)
  • Mark Rivers (The University of Chicago/APS)
  • Joanne Stubbs (U Chicago/APS)
  • Ryan Tappero (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
  • Brandy Toner (U Minnesota)
  • Sam Webb (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Updates from the National Science Foundation

  • Enriqueta Barrera
  • Robin Reichlin
  • Jennifer Wade