Faculty of Science
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Giel Berden, scientist and laser safety officer

"I develop new techniques for laser experiments. The latest development is a new method which uses two infrared lasers simultaneously in our mass spectrometer. This allows us to better distinguish two molecular ions which have the same mass but different structures. The first laser is used to selectively destroy one type of ions, the second laser, which is FELIX, is then used to measure the infrared spectrum of the other type of ions. Once you have the spectrum, you have the three dimensional structure of the ion.

Giel Klein

Besides my own scientific work, I advise and assist external users to make sure that their projects are successful. Since our guests come to HFML-FELIX from all over the world and only have a few days to achieve results, the complete set-up needs to function perfectly once they arrive. ‘Tomorrow is another day’ just does not work here, there is little time and thus little room for mistakes. Since all these projects run simultaneously, my job is very versatile and can be quite challenging. Even more so because for most requests we just don’t know if they are feasible in advance.

Furthermore, I am the laser safety officer. I ensure that the laboratory is safe for all users and I make our employees aware of the laser safety issues in their work. Since HFML-FELIX is such a unique facility, it can be difficult for the department of workplace health and safety (in Dutch: Arbo) to advise our team. I know a lot about lasers; almost 30 years of experience…. And actually, the laser safety work and training is quite fun!

One of our projects that I am excited about is in collaboration with the Radboud University medical center. We use the FELIX light and mass spectrometers to detect and determine the structure of molecules in human blood and urine samples which might code for a disease. This new technique is very fast and efficient."