We are interested in the applications of Raman spectroscopy in the fields of exobiology, geochemistry or geology in general. The topics of our research include:
There is a need of a new step in the following directions a) emerging types of colonisations by extremophiles, b) new biomarkers of high relevance for Mars exobiology c) new analytical developments. Raman spectroscopy being involved in the exobiological field studies on Earth, in a perspective of including a miniature Raman instrument in the flyby of the next mission to Mars (as in the frame of ExoMars).
The transformation of organic matter during diagenesis and metamorphism leads under certain conditions to the formation of solid residues. These residues can occur disseminated or accumulated in very diverse settings and mineral associations. Obtaining knowledge about the structure and microtexture of these residues is helpful to solve some of the major questions of geoscience i.e. how about the biogenicity of the conserved residue, how about the type of precursor biomass or what were the conditions of the geological processes determining the character of the
Extremophilic microbial strains originating from various habitats (hypersaline pools, polar lakes, snow, hot springs) (starting strains obtained from reference collections (DSMZ)) are cultivated to produce sufficient biomass for complex analytical investigations focused onto pigments, osmotic solutes and lipids. Direct field investigations of accumulated microbial biomass/mats. Direct field analyses of extremophile biomass of endoliths and crusts: here, mobile/miniaturized instrumentation allows us to collect basic detection information to be gathered fast and directly on outcrops.
Application of miniaturized/handheld Raman instrumentation for the studies at geological sites (analogues) that allow us to assess and address the challenges of in situ spectroscopic research with focus especially on hydrated minerals of importance for the Martian exobiology, such as sulfates.