Energy Material Research
Energy materials refers to more than just solar cells that produce electricity from sunlight. Based on its existing competences, HZB has defined a whole series of material systems to include in its future research portfolio. Solar fuels, thermoelectric materials and topological insulators are just a few of them. These are materials that store or convert energy, or which can be used to develop new and energy-efficient information technology.
The recurring theme in HZB’s research is thin-film technology. We are forever expanding our expertise in existing thin-film photovoltaic systems, enriching our research with a wide range of analytical methods, on the large facilities especially, and with material synthesis and theory-based simulations.
In experiments at BESSY II, HZB scientists have discovered more about the behaviour of spins in graphene. Their findings are an important step closer to the lossless conduction of spin currents.
To conduct cutting-edge research on novel energy materials with the most advanced ZEISS electron microscopes available –that is the mission of the partnership between HZB and ZEISS. The laboratories that were built for this cooperation were officially opened at the end of 2015.
An international collaboration of scientists has succeeded in using synchrotron light to detect and record the complex 3D magnetisation in wound magnetic layers. This technique could be important for medical diagnostics.
With participation of the HZB, an international team has succeeded in considerably increasing the efficiency for direct solar water splitting for the first time since 17 years. The researchers were using a tandem solar cell whose surfaces had been selectively modified.
The “Helmholtz Energy Materials Foundry (HEMF)” is conceived as a cross-centre Helmholtz research infrastructure and a dedicated international user platform in the field of energy research. HEMF’s scientific focus is on solar fuels, solar cells, fuel cells, battery systems, and thermoelectric and thermochemical materials. The six centres involved in the project in the Helmholtz Association’s Energy research field are FZJ, HZB, HZG, HZDR, KIT and DLR. HZB is responsible for their coordination. The project has a total volume of 35.4 million euros.
A cooperative between researchers of HZB, the University of Rostock, Freie Universität Berlin and other partners has figured out how charge transport works in polymeric carbon nitrides. These could make lowcost photocatalysts that promote the splitting of water with sunlight.