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Chemistry Division

The Chemistry Division specialises in the study of threats from chemical warfare agents and related toxic compounds. It helps to protect the population by operating instrumentation and acquiring the necessary expertise to evaluate, prevent and mitigate these threats. We also work with other specialist institutes and with equipment manufacturers, which also allows us to keep abreast of the latest scientific developments in our field of expertise. Our other partners include international organisations, in particular the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

We also support the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) with the implementation of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Australia Group export control regime.

As a member of the DDPS Emergency Response Team (EEVBS), we provide expert advice and support to civil protection response units (first responders) during the handling of incidents involving hazardous chemicals.

We also engage the next generation of chemical experts by annually offering two Federal VET diploma students the opportunity to carry out a laboratory technician traineeship with us. We also offer a limited number of internships for university students and mentor Masters and PhD students.

Analytical Chemistry Branch

  • Operation of a testing laboratory to analyse samples for the presence of chemical warfare agents and related compounds
  • Support for the OPCW in our role as a designated laboratory
  • Contribution to the expansion of the OPCW Central Analytical Database (OCAD), the reference library for OPCW on-site analyses
  • Support for first responders and analysis of samples secured by the DDPS Chemical Emergency Response team in the event of suspected chemical terrorism incidents
  • Training of NBC Defence Lab1 specialists of the Swiss Armed Forces in combat agent analytics
  • Analysis of authentic samples from international missions in connection with the alleged use of chemical warfare agents since 1984

Organic Chemistry Branch

  • Operation of the chemical safety laboratory, a designated OPCW Schedule 1 facility
  • Synthesis of very small quantities of high-purity toxic chemicals, chemical warfare agents and their associated compounds for research, testing and training purposes
  • Evaluation of the latest chemical synthesis advances in connection with the production of highly toxic compounds
  • Production of reference chemicals for use by Spiez Laboratory, the Swiss Armed Forces, the OPCW and selected partner institutes
  • Assurance of the operational readiness of the DDPS Chemical Emergency Response Team (C-EEVBS)
  • Supervision, in cooperation with universities, of Masters and doctoral theses in the chemical synthesis field

Detection and Decontamination Branch

  • Testing and evaluation of devices to detect toxic chemicals, chemical warfare agents and their related compounds
  • Testing of decontaminants for chemical warfare agents using proprietary methods which are capable of determining their detoxification performance on a micro-scale
  • Procurement assistance for the cantons, federal agencies and the Swiss Armed Forces


Spiez Laboratory Austrasse
CH-3700 Spiez
Tel.
+41 58 468 14 00

E-Mail

Spiez Laboratory

Austrasse
CH-3700 Spiez