Lehrstuhl für Endogene Geodynamik (Prof. Dr. Haase)
91054 Erlangen email@example.com
PhD project: “Tellurium in natural and synthetic pyrite: Ore-formation and economic implication” focuses on the distribution and incorporation of Te in pyrite.
Tellurium is an important constituent in thin film photovoltaic and other high-tech applications leading to an increased demand. However, limited scope for increase in the Te supply trough current recovery methods will likely lead to a shortage in the near future. Therefore, it is important to better understand the processes that control the distribution of Te in the Earth’s crust and particularly its enrichment on a deposit scale.
We propose that pyrite can be a important economic carrier of Te in addition to rare telluride occurrences. In this project, we use analytical methods on a micro to nano scale to gain insights into the ore-forming processes of Te. It is known that pyrite formation takes place under highly variable physical and chemical conditions. Our goal is to decipher the influence of these conditions on the incorporation mechanisms of Te into pyrite. Besides natural pyrite from porphyry-epithermal and Carlin-style deposits, we perform experimental studies to synthesize pyrite in order to investigate the Te distribution under controlled laboratory conditions. The speciation and incorporation of Te and its relation to other trace elements may prove a key instrument for future exploration and sustainable recovery of Te from ongoing mining operations.
Methods that we aim to use in the framework of the project:
-Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA)
-Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)
-Synchrotron based X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS)
-Atom probe tomography (APT)