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Dr Axel Suckow

Manager: Environmental Tracer and Noble Gas Laboratory; Isotope Hydrology, Geochronology

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After PhD Axel started Laboratory Management in Geochronology and Isotope Hydrology at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (at that time: "Geowissenschaftliche Gemeinschaftsaufgaben") in Hannover, and he returned to this laboratory after his time at the IAEA.

Axel was involved in:
Sediment dating using gamma spectrometry of 210Pb, 214Pb, 214Bi, 137Cs; Radiocarbon dating using gas proportional counters for 14C; Isotope hydrology using tritium and including electrolytic isotope enrichment as well as stable isotope (18O, 2H) mass spectrometry.
Axel completely redesigned the database management of this laboratory and developed an own Database and Laboratory Information Management System (DB-LIMS).

His projects in Hannover included:
Geochronology of sediments, anthropogenic impact on geochemical records, palaeoclimate studies, marine geology, bioturbation studies.
Groundwater "dating", recharge, groundwater mixing, saline groundwater, nitrate and pesticide contamination studies in groundwater, multi-tracer applications in groundwater.

From 2003-20010 Axel was Isotope Hydrologist at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
At the isotope hydrology laboratory of IAEA he built and managed a new and fully automated noble gas system measuring all noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) in groundwater. He also developed the software control of the complete measurement process of noble gases.
Also here he introduced state of the art data management and laboratory management procedures into the isotope hydrology laboratory.
He developed post-processing algorithms for noble gases, radiometry (gas proportional counters, liquid scintillation counters) and electrolytic enrichment of tritium.
Axel was engaged in various isotope hydrology projects and edited and contributed to the guidebook on dating old groundwater (

Since 2012 Axel is managing the Environmental Tracer Laboratory (ETL) of CSIRO at Waite Campus. From 2013 on the laboratory was transformed into the first and up to now only group that measures the concentrations and isotope ratios of stable noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) in (ground)water. The system is fully automated and adapted to deal with specific problems in Australian groundwater - like high concentrations of methane and helium.

Axel also introduced a completely new set of tracers into the groundwater work of CSIRO and Australia: the radioactive noble gas isotopes 85Kr, 39Ar and 81Kr. ETL can take the gas samples with specialized vacuum equipment in the field and operates the only facility on the southern hemisphere to purify these 60L gas samples to pure Kr and Ar. We also develop gas proportional counters to measure 85Kr. In a cooperation with University of Adelaide (Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - IPAS) we successfully applied for a LIEF grant to develop an Atom Trap Trace Analysis system (ATTA), and in this cooperation we will soon be the third laboratory on the planet to measure 39Ar and 81Kr and to apply these new tools to supply Australia with sustainable groundwater development.