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Starting Phase

In September 2010 the project entitled “NanoSIMS analysis of microbial driven nutrient turnover in the Baltic Sea ecosystem” started. The project was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research and the successful proposal was a combined effort of scientists of the IOW and the University of Rostock. Essential part of the proposal was the establishment of the CAMECA NanoSIMS 50L lab at the IOW.

It took till summer 2011 to rebuild a room in the ground floor of the villa which is part of the IOW to cover the needs of the NanoSIMS. The large weight (more than 2 tons) and the sensitivity regarding temperature changes and vibrations were the cause for massive construction work. An air condition system as well as a new concrete floor were built.

The old floor was removed completely. Large boulders formed parts of the old floor and needed to be destroyed before removing was possible. On the new concrete floor a anti-vibration-platform was positioned to host the main part of the NanoSIMS. This platform actively compensates every vibration of the floor by adjusting the air pressure of the system. People walking in the lab or cars passing by the building otherwise may disturb the measurements.

The components of the NanoSIMS were delivered by the end of May 2011. They travelled by truck directly from the manufacturer in France to the IOW lab. At the time of delivery the instrument was the forth of its kind in Germany and there were less than 30 worldwide. After the exact positioning of the NanoSIMS on the anti-vibration platform the instrument was covered to facilitate last construction works. Amongst other things, a anteroom was constructed to minimize dust pollution and temperature changes.

In Juli 2011 the Installation and configuration of the NanoSIMS started. After one week all cables and pipes were connected and vacuum was applied. Due to the complexity of the instruments it took several weeks to reach all specifications and to train the operators. At the beginning of November 2011 the official lab opening was celebrated with the first European NanoSIMS User Meeting. 50 scientists from seven nations attended the meeting and discussed applications as well as analysis and data processing. This meeting has become a regular event and meanwhile took place e.g. in Munich, Luxembourg and Paris.