HZB Newsroom

  • Chilean President visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
    News
    12.06.2024
    Chilean President visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
    The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric Font, visited HZB on Tuesday with a delegation of 50 people. Among the highlights of the evening were the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chilean Corporation for the Promotion of Production (CORFO) and HZB and a visit to BESSY II light source.
  • New joint leadership for BESSY II
    News
    13.06.2024
    New joint leadership for BESSY II
    Andreas Jankowiak as new Technical Director and Facility Spokesperson Antje Vollmer share management responsibilities

    Prof. Andreas Jankowiak has been appointed Technical Director of BESSY II with a term of office of three years as of 1 June 2024 by resolution of the HZB board of directors. Antje Vollmer will start her second term as BESSY II Facility Spokesperson on 1 July 2024. Together, they form the new management duo to coordinate the scientific and technical development of the BESSY II X-ray source on behalf of the HZB management.

  • Alkanes, laser flashes and BESSY's X-ray vision
    Science Highlight
    31.05.2024
    Alkanes, laser flashes and BESSY's X-ray vision
    An international research team has succeeded in observing an intermediate step in the catalysis of alkanes. By understanding these reactions, existing catalysts can be optimized in the future and new ones found, for example to convert the greenhouse gas methane into valuable raw materials for industry.

  • Dynamic measurements in liquids now possible in the laboratory
    Science Highlight
    23.05.2024
    Dynamic measurements in liquids now possible in the laboratory
    A team of researchers in Berlin has developed a laboratory spectrometer for analysing chemical processes in solution - with a time resolution of 500 ps. This is of interest not only for the study of molecular processes in biology, but also for the development of new catalyst materials. Until now, however, this usually required synchrotron radiation, which is only available at large, modern X-ray sources such as BESSY II. The process now works on a laboratory scale using a plasma light source.
  • Key role of nickel ions in the Simons process discovered
    Science Highlight
    21.05.2024
    Key role of nickel ions in the Simons process discovered
    Researchers at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and Freie Universität Berlin have discovered the exact mechanism of the Simons process for the first time. The interdisciplinary research team used the BESSY II light source at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin for this study.

  • Watching indium phosphide at work
    Science Highlight
    15.05.2024
    Watching indium phosphide at work
    Indium phosphide is a versatile semiconductor. The material can be used for solar cells, for hydrogen production and even for quantum computers – and with record-breaking efficiency. However, little research has been conducted into what happens on its surface. Researchers have now closed this gap and used ultra-fast lasers to scrutinise the dynamics of the electrons in the material.
  • Freeze casting - a guide to creating hierarchically structured materials
    Science Highlight
    25.04.2024
    Freeze casting - a guide to creating hierarchically structured materials
    Freeze casting is an elegant, cost-effective manufacturing technique to produce highly porous materials with custom-designed hierarchical architectures, well-defined pore orientation, and multifunctional surface structures. Freeze-cast materials are suitable for many applications, from biomedicine to environmental engineering and energy technologies. An article in "Nature Reviews Methods Primer" now provides a guide to freeze-casting methods that includes an overview on current and future applications and highlights characterization techniques with a focus on X-ray tomoscopy.
  • IRIS beamline at BESSY II extended with nanomicroscopy
    Science Highlight
    25.04.2024
    IRIS beamline at BESSY II extended with nanomicroscopy
    The IRIS infrared beamline at the BESSY II storage ring now offers a fourth option for characterising materials, cells and even molecules on different length scales. The team has extended the IRIS beamline with an end station for nanospectroscopy and nanoimaging that enables spatial resolutions down to below 30 nanometres. The instrument is also available to external user groups. 

  • A sculpture in front of BESSY II: The neuron accelerator
    News
    24.04.2024
    A sculpture in front of BESSY II: The neuron accelerator
    An art installation will be erected in front of the entrance to the BESSY building. The sculpture was chosen in a competion. It invites people to sit down and exchange ideas.
  • Cooperation with the Korea Institute of Energy Research
    News
    23.04.2024
    Cooperation with the Korea Institute of Energy Research
    On Friday, 19 April 2024, the Scientific Director of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Bernd Rech, and the President of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), Yi Chang-Keun, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Daejeon (South Korea).
  • Clean cooking fuel with a great impact for southern Africa
    News
    19.04.2024
    Clean cooking fuel with a great impact for southern Africa
    Burning biomass for cooking causes harmful environmental and health issues. The German-South African GreenQUEST initiative is developing a clean household fuel. It aims to reduce climate-damaging CO2 emissions and to improve access to energy for households in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Quantsol Summer School 2024 - Call for Application
    News
    17.04.2024
    Quantsol Summer School 2024 - Call for Application
    Registration for Quantsol is now open!

    The International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol) will be held in September 1-8, 2024 in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal, Austria. The school is organised by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Technical University of Ilmenau. Applications can be submitted through the school’s homepage until Friday 31st of May 2024, 23.59h CET.

  • A simpler way to inorganic perovskite solar cells
    Science Highlight
    17.04.2024
    A simpler way to inorganic perovskite solar cells
    Inorganic perovskite solar cells made of CsPbI3 are stable over the long term and achieve good efficiencies. A team led by Prof. Antonio Abate has now analysed surfaces and interfaces of CsPbI3 films, produced under different conditions, at BESSY II. The results show that annealing in ambient air does not have an adverse effect on the optoelectronic properties of the semiconductor film, but actually results in fewer defects. This could further simplify the mass production of inorganic perovskite solar cells.
  • Spintronics: A new path to room temperature swirling spin textures
    Science Highlight
    16.04.2024
    Spintronics: A new path to room temperature swirling spin textures
    A team at HZB has investigated a new, simple method at BESSY II that can be used to create stable radial magnetic vortices in magnetic thin films.

  • BESSY II: How pulsed charging enhances the service time of batteries
    Science Highlight
    08.04.2024
    BESSY II: How pulsed charging enhances the service time of batteries
    An improved charging protocol might help lithium-ion batteries to last much longer. Charging with a high-frequency pulsed current reduces ageing effects, an international team demonstrated. The study was led by Philipp Adelhelm (HZB and Humboldt University) in collaboration with teams from the Technical University of Berlin and Aalborg University in Denmark. Experiments at the X-ray source BESSY II were particularly revealing.
  • Fuel Cells: Oxidation processes of phosphoric acid revealed by tender X-rays
    Science Highlight
    03.04.2024
    Fuel Cells: Oxidation processes of phosphoric acid revealed by tender X-rays
    The interactions between phosphoric acid and the platinum catalyst in high-temperature PEM fuel cells are more complex than previously assumed. Experiments at BESSY II with tender X-rays have decoded the multiple oxidation processes at the platinum-electrolyte interface. The results indicate that variations in humidity can influence some of these processes in order to increase the lifetime and efficiency of fuel cells. 
  • Best Innovator Award 2023 for Artem Musiienko
    News
    22.03.2024
    Best Innovator Award 2023 for Artem Musiienko
    Dr. Artem Musiienko has been awarded a special prize for his groundbreaking new method for characterising semiconductors. At the recent annual conference of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) in Milan, Italy, he received the MCAA Award for the best innovation. Since 2023, Musiienko has been carrying out his research project with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions in Antonio Abate's department, Novel Materials and Interfaces for Photovoltaic Solar Cells (SE-AMIP).
  • Sebastian Keckert wins Young Scientist Award for Accelerator Physics
    News
    21.03.2024
    Sebastian Keckert wins Young Scientist Award for Accelerator Physics
    Dr Sebastian Keckert has been awarded the Young Scientist Award for Accelerator Physics of the German Physical Society (DPG). The prize is endowed with 5000 euros and was presented to him on 21.03. during the spring conference in Berlin. It honours the physicist's outstanding achievements in the development of new superconducting thin-film material systems for cavities.

  • Fertilisation under the X-ray beam
    Science Highlight
    19.03.2024
    Fertilisation under the X-ray beam
    After the egg has been fertilized by a sperm, the surrounding egg coat tightens, mechanically preventing the entry of additional sperm and the ensuing death of the embryo. A team from the Karolinska Institutet has now gained this new insight through measurements at the X-ray light sources BESSY II, DLS and ESRF. 
  • Neutron experiment at BER II reveals new spin phase in quantum materials
    Science Highlight
    18.03.2024
    Neutron experiment at BER II reveals new spin phase in quantum materials
    New states of order can arise in quantum magnetic materials under magnetic fields. An international team has now gained new insights into these special states of matter through experiments at the Berlin neutron source BER II and its High-Field Magnet. BER II served science until the end of 2019 and has since been shut down. Results from data at BER II are still being published.

  • Where quantum computers can score
    Science Highlight
    15.03.2024
    Where quantum computers can score
    The travelling salesman problem is considered a prime example of a combinatorial optimisation problem. Now a Berlin team led by theoretical physicist Prof. Dr. Jens Eisert of Freie Universität Berlin and HZB has shown that a certain class of such problems can actually be solved better and much faster with quantum computers than with conventional methods.
  • The future of BESSY
    News
    07.03.2024
    The future of BESSY
    At the end of February 2024, a team at HZB published an article in Synchrotron Radiation News (SRN). They describe the next development goals for the light source as well as the BESSY II+ upgrade programme and the successor source BESSY III.

  • ERC Consolidator Grant for HZB researcher Robert Seidel
    News
    04.03.2024
    ERC Consolidator Grant for HZB researcher Robert Seidel
    Physicist Dr Robert Seidel has been awarded a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Over the next five years, he will receive a total of two million euros for his research project WATER-X. Seidel will use state-of-the-art X-ray techniques at BESSY II to study nanoparticles in aqueous solution for the photocatalytic production of "green" hydrogen.
  • Unconventional piezoelectricity in ferroelectric hafnia
    Science Highlight
    26.02.2024
    Unconventional piezoelectricity in ferroelectric hafnia
    Hafnium oxide thin films are a fascinating class of materials with robust ferroelectric properties in the nanometre range. While their ferroelectric behaviour is extensively studied, results on piezoelectric effects have so far remained mysterious. A new study now shows that the piezoelectricity in ferroelectric Hf0.5Zr0.5O2 thin films can be dynamically changed by electric field cycling. Another ground-breaking result is a possible occurrence of an intrinsic non-piezoelectric ferroelectric compound. These unconventional features in hafnia offer new options for use in microelectronics and information technology.
  • 14 parameters in one go: New instrument for optoelectronics
    Science Highlight
    21.02.2024
    14 parameters in one go: New instrument for optoelectronics
    An HZB physicist has developed a new method for the comprehensive characterisation of semiconductors in a single measurement. The "Constant Light-Induced Magneto-Transport (CLIMAT)" is based on the Hall effect and allows to record 14 different parameters of transport properties of negative and positive charge carriers. The method was tested now on twelve different semiconductor materials and will save valuable time in assessing new materials for optoelectronic applications such as solar cells.
  • Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin is a bicycle-friendly employer
    News
    21.02.2024
    Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin is a bicycle-friendly employer
    Since 2017, the German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) has been awarding the EU-wide "Bicycle-Friendly Employer" certification. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has now been awarded the coveted silver seal. With this, the HZB wants to be even more attractive as an employer, especially for international applicants.

  • Sodium-ion batteries: How doping works
    Science Highlight
    20.02.2024
    Sodium-ion batteries: How doping works
    Sodium-ion batteries still have a number of weaknesses that could be remedied by optimising the battery materials. One possibility is to dope the cathode material with foreign elements. A team from HZB and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has now investigated the effects of doping with Scandium and Magnesium. The scientists collected data at the X-ray sources BESSY II, PETRA III, and SOLARIS to get a complete picture and uncovered two competing mechanisms that determine the stability of the cathodes.
  • New HZB magazine lichtblick is out
    News
    16.02.2024
    New HZB magazine lichtblick is out
    The new HZB magazine lichtblick is out! Topics are: green hydrogen, construction projects and green construction for Ukraine, ... We invite you to browse through the online edition.

  • BESSY II: Molecular orbitals determine stability
    Science Highlight
    07.02.2024
    BESSY II: Molecular orbitals determine stability
    Carboxylic acid dianions (fumarate, maleate and succinate) play a role in coordination chemistry and to some extent also in the biochemistry of body cells. An HZB team at BESSY II has now analysed their electronic structures using RIXS in combination with DFT simulations. The results provide information not only on electronic structures but also on the relative stability of these molecules which can influence an industry's choice of carboxylate dianions, optimizing both the stability and geometry of coordination polymers.
  • Against anti-democratic endeavours
    News
    05.02.2024
    Against anti-democratic endeavours
    The Alliance of German Science Organisations, to which the Helmholtz Association also belongs, emphatically condemns any kind of anti-democratic and inhuman endeavours.

  • BESSY II: Local variations in the structure of High-Entropy Alloys
    Science Highlight
    30.01.2024
    BESSY II: Local variations in the structure of High-Entropy Alloys
    High-entropy alloys can withstand extreme heat and stress, making them suitable for a variety of specific applications. A new study at the X-ray synchrotron radiation source BESSY II has now provided deeper insights into the ordering processes and diffusion phenomena in these materials. The study involved teams from HZB, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, the University of Latvia and the University of Münster.
  • Higher measurement accuracy opens new window to the quantum world
    Science Highlight
    17.01.2024
    Higher measurement accuracy opens new window to the quantum world
    A team at HZB has developed a new measurement method that, for the first time, accurately detects tiny temperature differences in the range of 100 microkelvin in the thermal Hall effect. Previously, these temperature differences could not be measured quantitatively due to thermal noise. Using the well-known terbium titanate as an example, the team demonstrated that the method delivers highly reliable results. The thermal Hall effect provides information about coherent multi-particle states in quantum materials, based on their interaction with lattice vibrations (phonons).
  • Nachruf: Wir trauern um Hans-Anton Graf
    Nachricht
    15.01.2024
    Nachruf: Wir trauern um Hans-Anton Graf
    Wir trauern um unseren ehemaligen Kollegen und Leiter des BENSC-Nutzerbüros am damaligen Hahn-Meitner-Institut (HMI, später HZB Nutzerbüro Neutronen) Dr. Hans-Anton Graf. Er verstarb nach einem ereignisreichen Leben und längerer Krankheit am 30. Dezember 2023 im Alter von 78 Jahren. Hans-Anton Graf war 1977 bis 2010 in der Neutronenforschung am HMI/HZB tätig.
  • Prof. Dr. Yan Lu: Developing new types of batteries sustainably
    News
    12.01.2024
    Prof. Dr. Yan Lu: Developing new types of batteries sustainably
    Yan Lu is appointed new Professor of Hybrid Materials for Electrochemical Energy Storage and Conversion at Friedrich Schiller University Jena together with HZB. Congratulations!
  • Focused ion beam technology: a single tool for a wide range of applications
    Science Highlight
    11.01.2024
    Focused ion beam technology: a single tool for a wide range of applications
    Processing materials on the nanoscale, producing prototypes for microelectronics or analysing biological samples: The range of applications for finely focused ion beams is huge. Experts from the EU collaboration FIT4NANO have now reviewed the many options and developed a roadmap for the future. The article, published in “Applied Physics Review”, is aimed at students, users from industry and science as well as research policy makers.
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 90. Geburtstag, Professor Eichler!
    Nachricht
    01.01.2024
    Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 90. Geburtstag, Professor Eichler!
    Prof. Jörg Eichler war von 1971 bis 1973 wissenschaftlicher Geschäftsführer des Hahn-Meitner-Instituts (HMI), aus dem später zusammen mit BESSY das HZB entstanden ist.  Am 1. Januar 2024 feierte Prof. Jörg Eichler nun seinen 90sten Geburtstag. Das HZB sendet herzliche Glückwünsche.

  • Green hydrogen: Perovskite oxide catalysts analysed in an X-ray beam
    Science Highlight
    21.12.2023
    Green hydrogen: Perovskite oxide catalysts analysed in an X-ray beam
    The production of green hydrogen requires catalysts that control the process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. However, the structure of the catalyst changes under electrical tension, which also influences the catalytic activity. A team from the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Twente has investigated at BESSY II and elsewhere how the transformation of surfaces in perovskite oxide catalysts controls the activity of the oxygen evolution reaction. 
  • Green hydrogen: Improving iridium catalysts with titanium oxides
    Science Highlight
    13.12.2023
    Green hydrogen: Improving iridium catalysts with titanium oxides
    Anodes for the electrolytic splitting of water are usually iridium-based materials. In order to increase the stability of the iridium catalyst, a team at HZB and a group at HI-ERN have now produced a so-called material library: a sample in which the concentration of iridium and titanium oxides is systematically varied. Analyses of the individual sample segments at BESSY II in the EMIL laboratory showed that the presence of titanium oxides can increase the stability of the iridium catalyst significantly.
  • HZB-Highlights 2022 published
    News
    12.12.2023
    HZB-Highlights 2022 published
    The Highlights 2022 report on a selection of the most important research results and events at HZB.
  • Collaborative Research Centre “Nanoscale Metals” raises 11 million euros
    News
    07.12.2023
    Collaborative Research Centre “Nanoscale Metals” raises 11 million euros
    Several HZB research teams are participating in the new SFB 1636 "Elementary processes of light-driven reactions on nanoscale metals".
  • Boosting PET recycling with higher standards for laboratory experiments
    Science Highlight
    24.11.2023
    Boosting PET recycling with higher standards for laboratory experiments
    Many enzymes promise to break down plastic. But what works well in the lab often fails on a large scale. Now a new study by Gert Weber, HZB, Uwe Bornscheuer, University of Greifswald, and Alain Marty, Chief Scientific Officer of Carbios, shows how raising the bar for laboratory experiments could help identify promising approaches more quickly. The team demonstrated the new standards on four newly discovered enzymes.
  • Microplastics in soil: Tomography shows where the particles are build in
    Science Highlight
    17.11.2023
    Microplastics in soil: Tomography shows where the particles are build in
    It really is a problem: Microplastics are everywhere. Now, an HZB and University Potsdam team developed a method that for the first time enables us to precisely localise microplastics in soil. The combined 3D tomographies by neutrons and X-rays show exactly the location of particles and structural changes that can affect water flows and soil properties.
  • Steve Albrecht is one of the “Highly Cited Researchers 2023”
    News
    15.11.2023
    Steve Albrecht is one of the “Highly Cited Researchers 2023”
    Every year, countless articles are published in specialist journals. The information service provider Clarivate uses a recognised method to measure the influence of the published articles on the respective subject area. According to this year's evaluation, HZB researcher Steve Albrecht is one of the most "highly cited researchers" having a significant influence on his field. Albrecht and his team have been involved in several world records for tandem solar cells in recent years and have published the results in high-ranking scientific journals. 
  • With a verified greenhouse gas balance: HZB aims to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2035
    News
    08.11.2023
    With a verified greenhouse gas balance: HZB aims to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2035
    HZB is aware of its social responsibility. Now, HZB’s Greenhouse Gas Report is here, after being externally verified, and identifies the main sources of emissions. The report provides the basis for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • BESSY II: Neutralising electronic inhomogeneity in cleaved bulk MoS₂
    Science Highlight
    30.10.2023
    BESSY II: Neutralising electronic inhomogeneity in cleaved bulk MoS₂
    Molybdenum disulphide (MoS₂) is a highly versatile material that can function, for example, as a gas sensor or as a photocatalyst in green hydrogen production. Although the understanding of a material usually starts from investigating its bulk crystalline form, for MoS₂ much more studies have been devoted to mono and few layer nanosheets. The few studies conducted thus far show diverse and irreproducible results for the electronic properties of cleaved bulk MoS₂ surfaces, highlighting the need for a more systematic study.
  • Curious Mind Award for Michelle Browne
    News
    23.10.2023
    Curious Mind Award for Michelle Browne
    On Thursday, 12 October 2023, Michelle Browne received a prestigious award in Hamburg: The "Curious Mind Award" in the category "Mobility, Energy and Sustainable Business" by manager magazin. 
  • Special conference of the East German Minister-Presidents as guests at HZB
    News
    19.10.2023
    Special conference of the East German Minister-Presidents as guests at HZB
    With a strong commitment to further investment in research and innovation, the special conference of the East German Minister-Presidents came to an end on 19 October 2023. The special conference, chaired by Saxony's Minister-President Michael Kretschmer, was also attended by Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and the Federal Government Commissioner for Eastern Germany, Carsten Schneider.
    The special conference was hosted by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, based in Berlin-Adlershof with BESSY II light source and its energy research.

  • Solidarity with Israel
    News
    10.10.2023
    Solidarity with Israel
    With great concern, we are following the news from Israel. We are stunned by the massive terrorist violence causing many victims and unbearable human suffering. We condemn the attacks by Hamas on Israel and its citizen in the strongest possible terms.
  • Green Deal Ukraina: Energy and Climate Agenda for Ukraine’s way towards EU
    News
    10.10.2023
    Green Deal Ukraina: Energy and Climate Agenda for Ukraine’s way towards EU
    The first high-level event of the Green Deal Ukraina (GDU) project took place in October in Kyiv, Ukraine, attended by more than 150 participants. This first gathering and formal launch took place at an important moment: EU will share a new report on the countries progress towards EU and Ukraine will respond by sharing its own analysis, called pre-screening.
  • Green hydrogen could reach economic viability by co-production of valuable chemicals
    Science Highlight
    09.10.2023
    Green hydrogen could reach economic viability by co-production of valuable chemicals
    It already works: there are several approaches to using solar energy to split water and produce hydrogen. Unfortunately, this green hydrogen has so far been more expensive than grey hydrogen from natural gas. A study by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Technische Universität Berlin now shows how green hydrogen from sunlight can become profitable.
  • Technology Transfer Prize: Tandem solar cells step closer to industrial pilot production
    News
    08.10.2023
    Technology Transfer Prize: Tandem solar cells step closer to industrial pilot production
    Tandem solar cells achieve high efficiencies: by combining two different types of solar cells, more sunlight is converted into electricity. PV manufacturer Qcells and a HZB team led by Dr. Kári Sveinbjörnsson and Bor Li have developed the technology to an extent, that Qcells invested in setting up a pilot line for the development of tandem cells in Saxony-Anhalt. For this successful transfer into industrial application, both researchers received the Technology Transfer Prize of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin worth 5,000 euros, on 4. October 2023.
  • Diamond materials as solar-powered electrodes – spectroscopy shows what’s important
    Science Highlight
    08.10.2023
    Diamond materials as solar-powered electrodes – spectroscopy shows what’s important
    It sounds like magic: photoelectrodes could convert the greenhouse gas CO₂ back into methanol or N2 molecules into valuable fertiliser – using only the energy of sunlight. An HZB study has now shown that diamond materials are in principle suitable for such photoelectrodes. By combining X-ray spectroscopic techniques at BESSY II with other measurement methods, Tristan Petit’s team has succeeded for the first time in precisely tracking which processes are excited by light as well as the crucial role of the surface of the diamond materials.
  • Revolutionary material science: Helmholtz High Impact Award for Novel Tandem Solar Cells
    News
    29.09.2023
    Revolutionary material science: Helmholtz High Impact Award for Novel Tandem Solar Cells
    A multidisciplinary team from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) is researching and improving novel tandem solar cells in order to bring them into application. For their approach and research achievements, Steve Albrecht, Antonio Abate and Eva Unger from HZB and Michael Saliba from FZJ received the High Impact Award on 27 September 2023. With the award, which comes with 50,000 euros in prize money, the Helmholtz Association and the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany honour innovative approaches that have the potential to act as game-changers.
  • Structure formation during freeze casting filmed
    Science Highlight
    06.09.2023
    Structure formation during freeze casting filmed
    Freeze casting processes can be used to produce highly porous and hierarchically structured materials that have a large surface area. They are suitable for a wide variety of applications, as electrodes for batteries, catalyst materials or in biomedicine. A team led by Prof. Ulrike G. K. Wegst, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA and Dr. Francisco García Moreno from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have used the newly developed X-ray tomoscopy technique. At the Swiss Light Source of the Paul Scherrer Institute they observed in real time and at high resolution how the process of structure formation takes place during freezing. A sugar solution served as the model system.
  • Quantum computing: Benchmarking performance by random data
    Science Highlight
    29.08.2023
    Quantum computing: Benchmarking performance by random data
    With increasing size and complexity, quantum computers become a sort of black box. Using methods from mathematical physics, a team has now succeeded in deriving concrete numbers from random, data sequences that can serve as a benchmark for the performance of a quantum computer system. Experts from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Qusoft Research Centre Amsterdam, the University of Copenhagen and the Technology Innovation Institute Abu Dhabi were involved in the work, which has now been published in Nature Communications.
  • Spintronics: X-ray microscopy unravels the nature of domain walls
    Science Highlight
    28.08.2023
    Spintronics: X-ray microscopy unravels the nature of domain walls
    Magnetic skyrmions are tiny vortices of magnetic spin textures. In principle, materials with skyrmions could be used as spintronic devices, for example as very fast and energy-efficient data storage devices. But at the moment it is still difficult to control and manipulate skyrmions at room temperature. A new study at BESSY II analyses the formation of skyrmions in ferrimagnetic thin films of dysprosium and cobalt in real time and with high spatial resolution. This is an important step towards characterising suitable materials with skyrmions more precisely in the future.
  • BESSY II: Surface analysis of catalyst particles in aqueous solutions
    Science Highlight
    21.07.2023
    BESSY II: Surface analysis of catalyst particles in aqueous solutions
    In a special issue on the liquid jet method, a team reports on reactions of water molecules on the surfaces of metal oxide particles. The results are relevant for the development of efficient photoelectrodes for the production of green hydrogen.
  • Quantitative analysis of cell organelles with artificial intelligence
    Science Highlight
    18.07.2023
    Quantitative analysis of cell organelles with artificial intelligence
    X-ray microscopy (cryo-SXT) enables high-resolution insights into cells and cell organelles - in three dimensions. Until now, the 3D data sets have been analysed manually, which is very time-consuming. A team from Freie Universität Berlin has now developed a self-learning algorithm based on a convolutional neural network. In collaboration with experts in cell biology (FU Berlin) and X-ray microscopy at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, this algorithm has now been used for the first time to analyse cell components in cryo-SXT data sets. It identified cell organelles and produced highly detailed, complex 3D images within a few minutes.
  • Solar hydrogen: Barriers for charge transport in metal oxides
    Science Highlight
    12.07.2023
    Solar hydrogen: Barriers for charge transport in metal oxides
    In theory, metal oxides are ideally suited as photoelectrodes for the direct generation of hydrogen with sunlight. Now, for the first time, a team at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has succeeded in determining the transport properties of the charge carriers in different metal oxides over a time range of nine orders of magnitude.
  • Record-breaking tandem solar cell now with precise scientific explanations
    Science Highlight
    06.07.2023
    Record-breaking tandem solar cell now with precise scientific explanations
    The world's best tandem solar cells, consisting of a silicon bottom cell and a perovskite top cell, can today convert around one-third of incident solar radiation into electrical energy. These are record values, especially for a potentially very low-cost technology. A team at HZB is now providing the scientific data for the first time and describing how this development was achieved in the renowned journal Science. 
  • BESSY II: What drives ions through polymer membranes
    Science Highlight
    05.07.2023
    BESSY II: What drives ions through polymer membranes
    Photoelectrolysers and electrolysis cells can produce green hydrogen or fossil-free carbon compounds – but they require ion-exchange membranes. An HZB team has now studied the transport of ions through the membrane in a hybrid liquid gas electrolyzer at the X-ray source BESSY II. Contrary to expectations, however, concentration differences hardly drive electric field ions. Diffusion is therefore the decisive process. This finding could help in the development of highly efficient and significantly more environmentally friendly membrane materials.
  • HZB and University of Jena establish Helmholtz Institute for Polymers in Energy Applications
    News
    23.06.2023
    HZB and University of Jena establish Helmholtz Institute for Polymers in Energy Applications
    Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, HZB) will jointly establish the "Helmholtz Institute for Polymers in Energy Applications" (HIPOLE) on 1 July 2023. The aim of HIPOLE is to develop sustainable polymer materials for energy technologies that can be rapidly brought into application, in particular polymer-based batteries and perovskite solar cells with polymer additives. HIPOLE will be funded with up to 5.5 million euros per year by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, 90%) and the Free State of Thuringia (10%). In the start-up phase until 2028, the Free State of Thuringia will additionally fund the new institute with more than ten million euros and take over the financing of the construction costs for the laboratories and offices.