Skip to main content
Education and Outreach Programs

Carl Schurz High School ESRP 2017

Soil mineral composition and its effect on biological mineral composition


  • Students:
    • Vanessa Blas
    • Edward Castaneda
    • Janette Hernandez
    • Jasmin Puga
  • Teachers:
    • Anthony Schmidt
  • Mentors:
    • Olga Antipova (Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials)
    • Robert Winarski (Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials; Advanced Photon Source Sector 2: Microscopy

With recent community concerns in Chicago Public Schools and other cities like Flint, MI regarding high levels of lead in water, we are concerned about possible toxins that may be present within the green spaces located near their homes and schools.

We investigated the concentration of elements necessary for life in five different areas and leaf samples taken from these local park areas. This testing was made possible by Argonne National Laboratory’s as part of the Exemplary Student Research Program from Schurz High School in the 2016-2017 school year.

The students used X-ray fluorescence microscopy at beamline 2-ID-D at the APS to study the elemental components and concentrations of these samples. Our team worked under the guidance of our Argonne mentor, Robert Winarski from the X-ray Microscopy Group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, receiving assistance in sample preparation and data analysis from Olga Antipova, the 2-ID-D beamline operator. We examined five soil and leaf samples and evaluated the elemental content and concentrations in each.

Download Poster