M. Bichler's research while affiliated with TU Wien and other places

Publications (87)

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Significance The significance of this study is multi-faceted, touching upon methodological advances in multidisciplinary approaches (earth sciences/geology–archaeology) as well as contributing to the historical and chronological understanding of the Late Bronze Age Thera eruption impacts. Our study presents physical evidence that very large, damagi...
Article
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The neutron capture cross section of Be9 for stellar energies was measured via the activation technique using the Karlsruhe Van de Graaff accelerator in combination with accelerator mass spectrometry at the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator. To characterize the energy region of interest for astrophysical applications, activations were perfo...
Article
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Obsidian, a natural volcanic glass, was used extensively in ancient times because of its quality as a raw material for sharp blades. As such, obsidian is of high interest for provenancing studies, since reliable provenancing can provide information about trade routes, extension of territory, long-distance contacts and the mobility of prehistoric pe...
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Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) represents a complementary approach for precise measurements of neutron capture cross sections, e.g., for nuclear astrophysics. This technique, completely independent of previous experimental methods, was applied for the measurement of the Fe54(n,γ)Fe55 reaction. Following a series of irradiations with neutrons f...
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The detection of long-lived radionuclides through ultra-sensitive single atom counting via accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) offers opportunities for precise measurements of neutron capture cross sections, e.g. for nuclear astrophysics. The technique represents a truly complementary approach, completely independent of previous experimental method...
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The technique of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), offering a complementary tool for sensitive studies of key reactions in nuclear astrophysics, was applied for measurements of the C13(n,γ)C14 and the N14(n,p)C14 cross sections, which act as a neutron poison in s-process nucleosynthesis. Solid samples were irradiated at Karlsruhe Institute of Te...
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50% of the heavy element abundances are produced via slow neutron capture reactions in different stellar scenarios. The underlying nucleosynthesis models need the input of neutron capture cross sections. One of the fundamental signatures for active nucleosynthesis in our galaxy is the observation of long-lived radioactive isotopes, such as $^{60}$F...
Article
In order to resolve a recent discrepancy in the half-life of Fe60, we performed an independent measurement with a new method that determines the Fe60 content of a material relative to Fe55 (t_1/2=2.744 yr) with accelerator mass spectrometry. Our result of (2.50±0.12)×10^6 yr clearly favors the recently reported value (2.62±0.04)×10^6 yr, and rules...
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The neutron capture cross sections of the main uranium isotopes, ^{235}U and ^{238}U, were measured simultaneously for keV energies, for the first time by combining activation technique and atom counting of the reaction products using accelerator mass spectrometry. New data, with a precision of 3%-5%, were obtained from mg-sized natural uranium sam...
Article
The two obsidian sources from the island of Melos (Greece), Agia Nychia and Demenegakion, are chemically characterized by three complementary analytical techniques. Ion beam analysis (IBA) comprising particle induced X‐ray emission and particle induced gamma‐ray emission, neutron activation analysis (NAA) and laser ablation inductively coupled plas...
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Samples from three medieval rock avalanches from the French (Le Claps, Mont Granier) and Austrian Alps (Dobratsch) and a man-made structure, i.e. the Stephansdom in Vienna, have been analysed for in-situ produced 36Cl by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). All four sampling sites of independently known exposure duration turned out to be not approp...
Article
Isobaric interference represents one of the major limitations in mass spectrometry. For a few cases in AMS with tandem accelerators, isobaric interference is completely excluded like the well-known major isotopes 14C, 26Al, 129I. Additional isotopes are 55Fe (t1/2 = 2.74 years), 68Ge (t1/2 = 270.9 days) and 202Pb (t1/2 = 52.5 kyr), with 68Ge and 20...
Article
Isobaric interference represents one of the major limitations in mass spectrometry. For a few cases in AMS with tandem accelerators, isobaric interference is completely excluded like the well-known major isotopes 14 C, 26 Al, 129 I. Additional isotopes are 55 Fe (t 1/2 = 2.74 years), 68 Ge (t 1/2 = 270.9 days) and 202 Pb (t 1/2 = 52.5 kyr), with 68...
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Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or meth...
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We summarize some recent cross-section measurements using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). AMS represents an ultra-sensitive technique for measuring a limited, but steadily increasing number of longer-lived radionuclides. This method implies a two-step procedure with sample activation and subsequent AMS measurement. Applications include nuclear...
Article
Since the Sonnblick-Observatory (3705 m) was founded in 1887, the nearby situated Goldberg Glacier (also termed Goldbergkees) was subject to numerous glaciological investigations. During the Würm glaciation the Goldberg Glacier covered the Rauris Valley and flew to the north. A giant landslide occurred in the upper Rauris Valley partly overlying mo...
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Major nuclear data libraries exhibit some discrepancies for the neutron capture reactions (235)U(n,gamma) and (238)U(n,gamma) at keV energies. These differences reflect also the scatter of experimental data that are primarily based on time-of-flight measurements (TOF) with detection of prompt gamma-rays. We report here on an independent approach fo...
Article
The Kyra sequence is a volcanic eruption sequence originating from the eastern flank of Nisyros volcano, Greece. Its eruptions products can be found not only on Nisyros itself but also on the nearby non-volcanic island of Tilos. In an extensive sampling campaign, outcrops of the Kyra eruption products on Nisyros were sampled and corresponding sampl...
Article
We discuss geochemical and sedimentological characteristics of 12 tephra layers, intercalated within the finely laminated sediments of Lake Van. Within the about 15kyr long sediment record studied, volcanic activity concentrated in the periods 2.6-7.2 and 11.9-12.9kyr B.P. Concentrations of 25 elements provide the geochemical fingerprint of each te...
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We report a breakthrough in the search for versatile diffractive elements for cold neutrons. Nanoparticles are spatially arranged by holographical means in a photopolymer. These grating structures show remarkably efficient diffraction of cold neutrons up to about 50% for effective thicknesses of only 200 μm. They open up a profound perspective for...
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Seven pumice samples from excavations in North Sinai have been investigated with respect to their geochemical composition. This type of volcanic rock has been used as an abrasive and thus has been an object of trade since antiquity. With the help of Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, six of these Bronze Age samples could be correlated to the...
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The measurement of cross sections relevant to nuclear astrophysics has become one main research topic at the VERA (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator) facility. The technique applied, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), offers excellent sensitivity for the detection of long-lived radionuclides through ultra-low isotope ratio measurements. W...
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Alluvial pumice beds from Greek shores were investigated by INAA and compared to the pumice database compiled in the course of the SCIEM2000 research programme. This database contains the compositional data on 25 quaternary volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean region that produced relevant amounts of pumice. The so-called chemical fingerprint, c...
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We discuss the applicability of holographically recorded gratings in photopolymers and holographic polymer-dispersed liquid crystals as neutron optical elements. An experimental investigation of their properties for light and neutrons with different grating spacings and grating thicknesses is performed. The angular dependences of the diffraction ef...
Article
This paper presents and discusses the Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) results newly obtained from pumice pieces found decades ago at the Egyptian sites of Maiyana, Sedment, Kahun, and Amarna – now in the collections of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London – which could be successfully related to seve...
Article
A set of N-rich salts, 3–9, of the heavy lanthanoids (terbium, 3; dysprosium, 4; holmium 5; erbium, 6; thulium, 7; ytterbium, 8; lutetium, 9) based on the energetic 5,5′-azobis[1H-tetrazole] (H2ZT) was synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, vibrational (IR and Raman) spectroscopy, and X-ray structure determination. The synthesis of th...
Article
We present a first effort to investigate (236)U in the environment near a shutdown nuclear power plant far away from highly contaminated sites, by using accelerator mass spectrometry. The detection limit of about 1pg (236)U allowed us to identify a minimal increase of the (236)U/(238)U isotopic ratio correlated to a peak of (137)Cs in river sedimen...
Article
Carnivorous plants use animals as fertiliser substitutes which allow them to survive on nutrient deficient soils. Most research concentrated on the uptake of the prey's nitrogen and phosphorus; only little is known on the utilisation of other elements. We studied the uptake of three essential nutrients, potassium, iron and manganese, in three speci...
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This paper is on the biological impact of arsenic and antimony on the flora and microflora on a former Sb-mining site in Schlaining (Stadtschlaining, Burgenland, Austria). Several habitats were investigated with respect to biodi-versity and metalloid contamination in soil. Although the overburden of the mining activity had been remediated less than...
Article
a b s t r a c t The modification of the raw clay by the potter to produce a paste suitable for the intended purposes adds a layer of obfuscation to the problem of provenancing the original clay source by chemical fingerprinting. By preparing different pastes from the same commercially available raw clay and their chemical analysis by Instrumental N...
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Margari et al. (2007) recently published a range of major and trace element geochemical data (EPMA, bulk tephra solution ICP?MS) as part of a study of a series of tephras from a lake sediment core on Lesvos Island, Greece. In their paper they propose correlations for some of their deposits with more widespread tephra deposits in the Mediterranean....
Article
Abstract Combining the powers of a fast pneumatic transport system and the Automatic Activation Analyzer (AAA) of the Atominstitut in Vienna with the newest version of the IAEA k 0-Software, the application of the k 0-method to the determination of short-lived radionuclides becomes easily possible. By calculating Asp-values with the IAEA software,...
Article
Combining the powers of a fast pneumatic transport system and the Automatic Activation Analyzer (AAA) of the Atominstitut in Vienna with the newest version of the IAEA k 0-Software, the application of the k 0-method to the determination of short-lived radionuclides becomes easily possible. By calculating Asp-values with the IAEA software, the often...
Article
Pyrotechnics and fireworks cause pollution with barium aerosols, which is a result of the utilization of barium nitrate as a combined pyrotechnic oxidizer and coloring agent. In this study, the washing-out of barium-rich aerosols by snowflakes during the New Years Eve celebrations in an Austrian village in the Alps has been investigated. It could b...
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The interaction of thermal neutrons with 235U results in fission with a probability of ∼85% and in the formation of 236U (t1/2 = 2.3 × 107 yr) with a probability of ∼15%. While anthropogenic 236U is, therefore, present in spent nuclear fuel at levels of 236U/U up to 10−2, the expected natural ratios in the pre-anthropogenic environment range from 1...
Article
The neutron capture cross sections of the radioactive isotope 182Hf (t1/2=8.9×106 yr) in the thermal and epithermal energy regions have been measured by activation at the TRIGA Mark-II reactor of the Atomic Institute of the Austrian Universities in Vienna, Austria, and subsequent γ-ray spectroscopy of 183Hf. High values for the thermal (kT=25 meV)...
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The sediments of Charkadio Cave (Island of Tilos) have been object of chemical and mineralogical investigation. Sampling the speleothems of Charkadio Cave, it is possible to look back into the island’s younger geological history. Tilos is of non-volcanic origin but neighbored to several volcanoes of the Aegean (Kos, Nisyros, and Giali). We observed...
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The search for the telltale signs of volcanic eruptions in easily dateable (biological) material like tree rings or speleothems has been going on for a very long time. Even though the reactions of tree rings to cataclysmic events are fairly well understood, there has not been a satisfactory method to distinguish volcanic from other climatically act...
Article
Chemical fingerprint techniques are frequently applied to airborne volcanic eruption products, so-called tephra, such as ash and pumice for archeological and geoscientific purposes. However, in some cases, a meaningful interpretation of the results is complicated by superficial contaminations. Therefore, this situation was simulated by the use of p...
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In this paper, methods for the application of radiotracers in the Cobra Lily (Darlingtonia californica), a carnivorous pitcher plant, are described. The uptake of radiotracers such as 42K and 54Mn into the pitcher trap in aqueous solution could be proven, whereas uptake of 59Fe ions could not be observed. No-carrier-added 54Mn was taken up by the p...
Article
Pumice has been used as a serviceable abrasive or religious artefact since antiquity and has therefore been an object of trade. It can be found in excavations of ancient workshops all over the Mediterranean. Pumice lumps from the major pumice-bearing rhyolitic tephra units in Cappadocia-the Central Anatolian Volcanic Province, Turkey (in particular...
Article
The potential for measuring the radionuclides 41Ca and 55Fe was investigated with the 3 MV tandem accelerator at VERA. Interestingly, up to now, no applications have been published for 55Fe using the technique of AMS. This is in strong contrast to 41Ca, which is routinely measured by medium and large tandem accelerators in various applications. Usi...
Conference Paper
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The origin of optical diffraction in holographic polymer-dispersed liquid crystal (H-PDLC) transmission gratings was investigated by optical two beam-coupling analysis based on the linear phase-shift technique. Gratings with the pitch of I micrometer and the thickness of 50 micrometers were fabricated from a UV curable mixture of commercially avail...
Article
Gas mantles for camping gas lanterns sometimes contain thorium compounds. During the last years, the use of thorium-free gas mantles has become more and more popular due to the avoidance of a radioactive heavy metal. We investigated a gas mantle type that is declared to be "non-radioactive" and that can be bought in Austria at the moment. Methods u...
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The stellar neutron capture cross sections of ¹Hf and the radioactive isotope ¹²Hf (t=8.9x10 yr) have been measured for the first time at kT=25 keV by means of the activation technique. These isotopes originate from different stellar scenarios, ¹Hf from the p-process by a series of photodisintegration reactions of heavier seed nuclei, and ¹²Hf from...
Article
Salt is essential for human nutrition. Recently, it has become popular in Europe to rather use exotic sea salt or lake salt instead of purified evaporated salt, because of an alleged higher content of trace elements. In this study the content of trace elements and their bioavailability of 19 samples of different types of salt and 1 sample of brine...
Article
Deposits formed by explosive volcanic eruptions offer remarkable reliability when used as time-markers. Especially in time periods where radiometric dating is not applicable, sequences of volcanic layers can be used instead for relative dating. At the very least, a perfect synchronization can be established for every place where a certain volcanic...
Article
Significant amounts of the neutron-rich isotope 183Hf have been produced by (n,γ) reaction on the long-lived 182Hf (t1/2=8.9×106 y) during an irradiation with thermal neutrons. The half-life of 183Hf has been remeasured with high precision using the decay curve of its most abundant γ rays. The new half-life value is 1.018±0.002 h, which is 4.6% sho...
Article
Pumice has been used as a serviceable abrasive or religious artifact since antiquity and has therefore been an object of trade. By analyzing pumice samples from archaeological excavations and comparing the results to an analytical database, it is possible to establish the origin of the sample and thereby get information on the maximum age and the t...
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In this study, 18 partly commercially available samples of rock salt from Austria, Germany, Pakistan, Poland, Switzerland, and Ukraine were investigated with respect to their content of trace elements using instrumental neutron activation analysis. Elements detected were Al, Ba, Br, Ca, Ce, Cl, Co, Cr, Cs, Eu, Fe, Hf, La, Mn, Na, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sm, Sr...
Article
Summary Sixteen pumice samples produced by the youngest eruption sequences of Mt. Pelato (Island of Lipari, Italy) were analyzed with instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) for their major and trace element contents, in particular Al, Ba, Ca, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Dy, Eu, Fe, Hf, K, La, Lu, Mn, Na, Nd, Rb, Sb, Sm, Ta, Tb, Th, Ti, U, V, Yb, Zn, a...
Article
(182)Hf is a so-called "extinct" radionuclide interesting for both geophysical and astrophysical studies. The discovery of live (182)Hf in the early solar system through isotopic anomalies of stable (182)W in meteorites opened up an important application as a chronometer for the formation of the Earth and Moon. In addition, (182)Hf plays an importa...
Article
182Hf is a so-called "extinct" radionuclide interesting for both geophysical and astrophysical studies. The discovery of live 182Hf in the early solar system through isotopic anomalies of stable 182W in meteorites opened up an important application as a chronometer for the formation of the Earth and Moon. In addition, 182Hf plays an important role...
Article
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The decay of 182Hf, now extinct, into stable 182W has developed into an important chronometer for studying early solar system processes such as the accretion and differentiation of planetesimals and the formation of the Earth and the Moon. The only 182Hf half-life measurements available were performed 40 years ago and resulted in an imprecise half-...
Article
The pumiceous products of the large-scale explosive eruptions at Santorini show a high grade of similarity in their optical appearance as well as in their chemical composition. The demand for a clear classification of these eruption products was raised from archaeological research, where pumice can be interpreted as a “post-eruption” time marker. T...
Article
Initial experiments at the ATLAS facility [Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 92 (1994) 241] resulted in a clear detection of cosmogenic 39Ar signal at the natural level. The present paper summarizes the recent developments of 39Ar AMS measurements at ATLAS: the use of an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) positive ion source equipped with a special quartz l...
Article
The neutron-rich isotope 182Hf with its half-life of 9 ± 2 million years was alive in the early solar system and has been used to study the early development of the Earth and the Moon through isotopic anomalies of its stable decay product 182W. In addition, 182Hf may also complement a few other radionuclides in the million-year half-life range to t...
Article
Initial experiments at the ATLAS facility [Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 92 (1994) 241] resulted in a clear detection of cosmogenic 39Ar signal at the natural level. The present paper summarizes the recent developments of 39Ar AMS measurements at ATLAS: the use of an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) positive ion source equipped with a special quartz l...
Article
The presence of live 182Hf (t1/2∼9 Myr) in the early solar system is well established but the understanding of its abundance is still challenging. Live 182Hf is expected to be present in the interstellar medium (ISM) as a result of recent nucleosynthesis activity. We are attempting a search for live 182Hf possibly deposited on Earth. The search foc...
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Pumice and volcanic ash samples from different localities in the Middle East region were analysed for major and trace element contents using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Samples of pumice found in archaeological excavations of Early to Middle Bronze age (≈3500 y. B.P.) from Egypt, Palestine, and Israel could be correlated to the...
Article
In the framework of the research program Synchronization of Civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the 2nd Millenium B.C. instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was used to determine 30 elements in pumice from archaeological excavations to reveal their specific volcanic origin. The widespread pumiceous products of several eru...
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Cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating Radioactive or stable cosmogenic nuclides are products of nuclear reactions induced by cosmic rays. The development of the interdisciplinary field of the quantification of cosmogenic nuclides has been increased dramatically in the last decades. Especially, the progress in the field of accelerator mass spectrometry...
Article
Pumice from the major volcanic sources (Milos, Nisyros, Yali, Kos and Santorini) in the South Aegean region was investigated to reveal the differences between the composition of the bulk material, which contains a certain percentage of crystallites, and the pure glass phase, which is the main constituent. The knowledge of these differences is impor...
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 Pumice from the “Minoan eruption” on Thera (Cyclades, Greece) was investigated to reveal the differences between the composition of the bulk material, which contains a certain percentage of crystallites, and the pure glass phase. This is important for the identification of vitric tephra layers found in the Eastern Mediterranean region in archaeolo...
Article
Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was used to determine 29 elements in pumice from several volcanic sources (Milos, Nisyros, Yali, Kos and Thera) in the Aegean Sea, Greece, to establish a data basis for the identification of pumice and tephra layers found in archaeological context. The widespread products of the “Minoan Eruption” of t...
Article
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Minor and trace elements in gaseous effluents from active volcanic areas could be useful indicators for hydrothermal activity. The knowledge of their elemental distribution contributes to a better understanding of degassing processes from various sources. Several methods for the sampling of volcanic gases for NAA are presented and discussed. Absorp...
Article
A new routine technique for the determination of trace elements in volcanic gases by NAA is presented. For time and money saving reasons this method is applicable to samples, collected by the conventional method. This technique uses evacuated glass bottles, partly filled with NaOH solution to absorb acidic gas components and CO2, which is the main...
Article
Neutron activation analysis was used to determine up to 30 elements in the pumice layers from the Minoan eruption at Thera (Santorini, Greece). Mt Pilato (Lipari, Italy) and in alluvial pumice from coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean region. The morphologically well distinguishable layers of the Minoan pumice were found to be of nearly similar comp...
Article
Tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane (TRIS, THAM) was used to collect volcanic gas samples for the determination of some minor and trace elements by neutron activation analysis (NAA). The sampling was carried out on the island Vulcano and the Campi Flegrei near Naples, Italy. Comparative sampling with 7LiOH and NaOH was performed. Several elements (Cl,...
Article
Volcanic gases in the temperature range from 269 to 635 were sampled by means of a filter combination, consisting of two activated charcoal filters, a cooler and a condensate trap. Samples of the steam plume were taken additionally to quantify the depletion of the elements after condensation and dilution by the atmosphere. The elements F, Cl, Br, I...
Article
Commercially available7LiOH was used for collecting volcanic gas samples on the island of Vulcano, Southern Italy, to determine trace elements by NAA. The high -background activity, which is induced when NaOH solutions are used as collecting agents was avoided in this way. While several elements (Cl, Br, I, As) could be determined in the collected...
Article
The application of short-lived nuclides, especially in connection with the 6LiD-converter, in biological and environmental samples is demonstrated on I and Br determination in human urine, on I in pet food, and on the analysis of all the halogens in volcanic gases in a single activation. Trace element determination in lichens indicates polluted and...
Article
Hot gases of volcanic origin (fumaroles) were sampled by means of an activated charcoal filter. The charcoal was specially prepared by a high temperature-vacuum treatment. Mercury, arsenic, bromine, antimony and selenium were determined by activation analysis and compared with literature values. A lightweight pumping station was developed to enable...