Mineralogy studies the atomic structure and chemistry of minerals, as well as the processes of formation and association of minerals in rocks. By analyzing minerals, we are able to understand the history of rocks, the processes in the earth's interior, but also the behaviour of physiological (bones, teeth) and pathological minerals in the human body. Alongside metallurgy, mineralogy is the oldest materials science, with the earth, as well as the extraterrestrial bodies, providing a rich and diverse resource of (mostly) crystalline materials. Economic and sustainable use of these geomaterials (ore minerals, pigments or building materials) is of crucial importance for society, but the diverse formation conditions and complex structural properties of minerals also keep inspiring the development of novel functional materials and the methods to synthesize them.
The institute employs a wide variety of analytical methods, including in-house as well as synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction (DESY, beamline P24), Raman scattering, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and electron microprobe analysis.
Mineralogical education is embedded in the study courses BSc/MSc Geosciences.
The institute cooperates closely with the CeNak/Mineralogical Museum, both in research and public outreach activities.
Our current research activities focus on:
- Composition-structure-property relations in perovskite-type ferroelectrics and in related minerals
- Composition, temperature and pressure dependence of phonons in amphiboles and tourmalines
- Radiation-induced structural damage in metamict minerals
- Biominerals and biocompatible materials for bone implants
- Elastic properties of mineral inclusions in ultrahigh-pressure rocks
- Applications of geochemistry, geochronology and petrology designed to understand and quantify the rates and timescales of geological processes affecting the evolution of the Earth's crust and mantle. Interests include high-temperature processes in varied geological environments, the rates and geochemical consequences of mass transport in the evolving crust, the timing and duration of mountain building and metamorphism in collisional environments
- Application of various isotope systems (U-Pb, Sm-Nd, Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf, Re-Os) in studies of crustal and mantle evolution. This research includes both field and laboratory based analysis
- Characterization of minerals, gemstones and meteorites