Liane G. Benning is Professor in Interface Geochemistry at the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) and Professor of experimental biogeochemistry at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.
Her research focuses on the quantitative elucidation of geochemical reaction mechanisms in inorganic and biogenic systems. Her group focuses on problems related to the speciation, transport, release, and sequestration of elements in a series of Earth surface environments via experimental and field studies of thermodynamic and kinetic processes linked to nucleation, growth, crystallization and dissolution of silicates, oxides and sulphides.
Experimental approaches combine low temperature to hydrothermal autoclaves, conventional and high resolution microscopy and spectroscopy (HR-SEM/TEM, SAED, EELS), laser dynamic light scattering (DLS), Vertical Scanning Interferometry (VSI) as well as molecular microbiological techniques that help elucidate the community diversity and function in mixed mineral-biofilm systems. In addition, a large part of the work is focused on the use of synchrotron based techniques to elucidate molecular level reaction mechanisms and the development of in situ and realtime techniques to quantify reactions as they occur in solution (e.g., SAXS, hard and soft-XAS, FTIR, and ED-XRD). Field areas include Iceland, New Zealand and the Norwegian Arctic.