Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Physics of Isotopologues

Dr. Tobias Kluge


The research of Dr. Tobias Kluge has its major focus on the investigation of multiply-substituted isotopologues, the understanding of physical processes that lead to isotope fractionation, and the application of new proxies technique for paleoclimate reconstruction. Amongst others, carbonate clumped isotopes and noble gases in fluid inclusions are promising new techniques for the assessment of past climate variations that are applied in this research group.

The research group is part of the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP).

The research group is funded by the Excellence Initiative of DFG (German Research Foundation) and BMBF (German Ministry of Education and Research). The Excellence Intiative was intiated to foster world-class institutions and to promote cutting edge research.


  • Advances in the absorption spectroscopic analysis of CO2 clumped isotopes:

    Prototype system in test phase
    A recent advance in mid-IR laser spectroscopic technologies provides us the necessary tools to access extremely low sub-permill variations of rare doubly-substituted CO2 isotopologues (e.g. 17O13C16O and 18O13C16O): conference abstract
    A photo of the current instrument design is shown below.

  • Teaching in the winter semester 2018/2019 - bachelor seminar (PSEM):

    Naturwissenschaftliche Methoden in der Archäologie

    Archäologische Fragestellungen für die Naturwissenschaft

    In diesem Seminar möchten wir die Grundlagen der Physik, zusammen mit neueren Techniken und Erkenntnissen der letzten Jahre, auf Fragestellungen der Altertumswissenschaften anwenden und in einem interdisziplinären Kontext beleuchten. Im Mittelpunkt steht dabei eine kritisch reflektierte Betrachtung der naturwissenschaftlichen Methoden, welche unter anderem auf die Grenzen der Aussagefähigkeiten eingeht, aber auch deutlich macht, wie ein Austausch über die Grenzen der Wissenschaftsdisziplinen hinweg für alle Seiten einen großen Gewinn bringen kann. Inhaltlich werde wir ein breites Spektrum physikalischer Grundlagen und Techniken, von der Kernphysik (radiometrische Methoden), über Teilchenphysik (Myonen) bis hin zur Molekül- und Umweltphysik diskutieren.
    Das Seminar beginnt am 23.10. und findet immer dienstags von 11-13 am Institut für Umweltphysik (INF 229) im Seminarraum 108/110 (1.Stock) statt. Um vorherige Anmeldung wird gebeten.
    Weitere Informationen sind hier zu finden: Seminardetails
    Link LSF

  • Group-related research in the media:

    Paleoclimate research

    1) The SWR journalist Friederike Kroitzsch joined the research team for a monitoring visit in a cave in the Odenwald region (close to the Eberstadt show cave near Buchen, Southern Germany). Members of the research team explain what the goals of speleothem-based studies in this region are and why it is relevant today: mp3 version (in German)
    The radio contribution has been broadcasted end of October 2017 in the SWR.

    The photo was taken by Florian Freundt

    2) Prof. Dr. Neumann presents on ongoing interdisciplinary, collaborative research on climatic extreme events using speleothems from the Frankonian Alb and historical documents from Nuremberg: Contribution Deutsches Klima Konsortium
    The article has been published online on the pages of the Deutsches Klima Konsortium. Partners are from Heidelberg University (Institute of Environmental Physics: Dr. T. Kluge, Historical seminar: Maxmillian Schuh, Gabriel Meyer) and Karlsruhe Institue of Technology (Institute of Applied Geosciences: Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumann, Dr. Elisabeth Eiche, Arno Hartmann, Philipp Holz). Involved is also Dr. Dana Riechelmann from Mainz University and Prof. Dr. Detlev Richter from Ruhr-University Bochum. Funding was provided 2016 by a HEiKA grant.

    3) Floods and other climatic extremes in the historical past. What can we learn from geological and historical archives and the related societal responses? a video summary
    The video has been prepared in the context of the Heidelberg Center of the Environment.

    4) Speleothems as paleoclimate archive - state of the art and new approaches: a review in Ruperto Carola

  • Multi-proxy and multi-archive hydrological paleoclimate session at the Goldschmidt conference 2017
    Improving our Understanding of Hydroclimate Variability Using Paleoclimate Records (session 17d)
    Convener: David McGee, Stacy Carolin, Charlotte Skonieczny, Enno Schefuss, Tobias Kluge, Elisabeth Eiche
    Session details: link (from there select 17d)

  • Speleothem-specific session at the EGU 2017
    The speleothem archive: understanding processes and interpreting Quaternary climate change (CL 1.13)
    Convener: Marc Luetscher, Co-Conveners: Michael Deininger, Tobias Kluge, Jens Fohlmeister
    Session details: link

  • Installation of a new isotope ratio mass spectrometer (2016):

    Thermo Scientific MAT 253 Plus
    The new mass spectrometer of the team physics of environmental archives will be used for the high-precision analysis of clumped isotopes and standard stable isotopes of carbonates. Impressions from the installation in March 2016 (positioning of the magnet) and the setup in the laboratory are shown below.

    • Approval of two research projects 2016:

      HEiKA project "Check Extrema", interdisciplinary research project on climatic extreme events investigated from Natural and Historical Sciences perspectives. Funded by the Heidelberg-Karlsruhe Research Partnership of Heidelberg University, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Germany
      Further information: HEiKA web site.
      Short video on the project outline, background details and first insights.

      DFG project "Water isotopes in fluid inclusions of speleothems". Funded by the German Science Foundation DFG.
      Further information: DFG web site.

    • New publications

      Boch, R., Wang, X., Kluge, T., Leis, A., Lin, K., Pluch, K., Mittermayer, F., Baldermann, A., Böttcher, M.E., Dietzel, M., 2018. Aragonite calcite veins of the ‘Erzberg’ iron ore deposit(Austria): Environmental implications from young fractures. Sedimentology.

      Kluge, T., John, C.M., Boch,R., Kele,S., 2018. Assessment of factors controlling clumped isotopes and δ18O values of hydrothermal vent calcites. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 19.

      Zhang, L., Wang, C., Wignall, P.B., T. Kluge, Wan, X, Wang, Q, Gao, Y., 2018. Deccan volcanism caused coupled pCO2 and terrestrial temperature rises, and pre-impact extinctions in northern China. Geology, 46, 271-274.

      Garcia del Real, P., Maher, K., Kluge, T., Bird, D.K., Brown, G.E.B. Jr., John, C.M., 2016. Clumped-isotope thermometry of magnesium carbonates in ultramafic rocks , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 193, 222-250.

      Ritter, A.-C., Kluge, T., Berndt, J., Richter, D.K., John, C.M., Bodin, S., Immenhauser, A., 2015. Application of redox sensitive proxies and carbonate clumped isotopes to Mesozoic and Paleozoic radiaxial fibrous calcite cements , Chemical Geology, 417, 306-321.

      Kele, S., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Capezzuoli, E., Nele Meckler, A., Ziegler, M., Millan, I.M., Kluge, T., Deák, J., Hanselmann, K., John, C.M., Yan, H., Liu, Z., Bernasconi, S.M, 2015. Temperature dependence of oxygen- and clumped isotope fractionation in carbonates: a study of travertines and tufas in the 6-95°C temperature range, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 168, 172-192.

      T. Kluge, C.M. John, 2015. Technical Note: A simple method for vaterite precipitation for isotopic studies: implications for bulk and clumped isotope analysis, Biogeosciences, 12, 3289-3299.

      T. Kluge, C.M. John, 2015. Effects of brine chemistry and polymorphism on clumped isotopes revealed by laboratory precipitation of mono- and multiphase calcium carbonates, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, accepted manuscript.

      T. Kluge, C.M. John, A.-L. Jourdan, S. Davis, J. Crawshaw, 2015. Laboratory calibration of the calcium carbonate clumped isotope thermometer in the 25-250°C temperature range , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 157, 213-227.

      A. Geske, R.H. Goldstein, V. Mavromatis, D.K. Richter, D. Buhl, T. Kluge, C.M. John, A. Immenhauser, 2015. The magnesium isotope (δ26Mg) signature of dolomites , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 149, 131-151.

    Current group members

    • Dr. Tobias Kluge, Research group leader

      Institute of Environmental Physics
      Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, Room 3.30
      Phone +49 (0)6221-54-6511

    • Halua Pinto de Magalhaes, Alexander von Humboldt Stipendiat
    • Ivan Prokhorov, PhD student
    • Therese Weißbach, PhD student
    • Tatjana Münster, MSc student
    • Marie-Christin Juhl, BSc student
    • Alina Straub, Project student
    • Lukas Becker, Project student and assistant (Hiwi)

    Open positions

    Several research opportunities for master and bachelor students are currently available: Link



    For the full publication list see: Link
    Conference contributions

    Conference contributions

    Conference contributions of the research group are summarized here: Link




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