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SOCCHA project

Project: Optical Soil Carbon Characterization and Monitoring (SOCCHA)

Duration: 2021-2024

Person in charge: Jan Viljanen, Tampere University (

Funder: Academy of Finland

Short description:

SOCCHA project aims to develop a laser-based measurement method that enable comprehensive monitoring of soil carbon content. Soil is the second largest carbon storage on earth and, thus, a significant part of carbon circulation. The new carbon measurement approach using Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) has the potential to provide the essential information on absolute carbon content and its changes in soil. The compact field-capable method can operate directly on a soil drill sample making it a fast way to determine the carbon content and its depth distribution in a soil block.

The basis of LIBS analysis is the characteristic radiation emitted by elements in a plasma plume that enables their identification and quantification. The plasma plume is created with a pulsed laser beam that ablates small amount of the sample and heats the ablated material into plasma state.  LIBS method has been broadly utilized in different applications as it enables sensitive and selective online monitoring of multiple elements with a simple and robust measurement arrangement.

SOCCHA-project has been granted to Jan Viljanen as three-year postdoctoral researcher funding by the Academy of Finland. SOCCHA is to study laser-induced plasma behavior on soils and LIBS method’s capabilities on soil carbon monitoring. The development work is carried out in international collaboration with the Comenius University in Bratislava and the University of Adelaide.

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