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- HZB researcher Olga Kasian honored as young scientistThe Werner-von-Siemens-Ring Foundation has accepted Prof. Dr. Olga Kasian into its network in recognition of her outstanding scientific achievements. Olga Kasian heads a junior research group on electrocatalysis at HZB and is a professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The foundation has been honoring young researchers in the technical and natural sciences since 1977 and offers them unique opportunities for interdisciplinary networking.
- Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore visits HZBOn Friday, 17 June, a delegation from Singapore visited HZB. Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, was accompanied by the Ambassador to Singapore in Berlin, Laurence Bay, as well as representatives from research and industry.
- Helmholtz Association opens an experimental station at the SESAME X-ray source in JordanHESEB extends research possibilities to soft X-rays
A new experimental station has been opened at the X-ray source SESAME in Jordan: HESEB, the Helmholtz-SESAME Beamline, has been designed by five research centres of the Helmholtz Association under the leadership of DESY. It considerably expands the experimental possibilities of the facility.
- Calculating the "fingerprints" of molecules with artificial intelligenceWith conventional methods, it is extremely time-consuming to calculate the spectral fingerprint of larger molecules. But this is a prerequisite for correctly interpreting experimentally obtained data. Now, a team at HZB has achieved very good results in significantly less time using self-learning graphical neural networks.
- Water distribution in the fuel cell made visible in 4DTeams from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and University College London (UCL) have visualised the water distribution in a fuel cell in three dimensions and in real time for the first time by evaluating neutron data from the Berlin Experimental Reactor shut down in 2019. The analysis opens new possibilities for more efficient and thus more cost-effective fuel cells.
- New cookbook "Science-Food" - download now!People from many different countries work at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and enrich our atmosphere. For our cookbook, employees and guest researchers from six continents have contributed their favorite recipes.
- HZB researcher follows the call to the Hebrew University in JerusalemRonen Gottesman has been a scientist at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels for the past five years, establishing the pulsed laser deposition team and developing novel complex metal-oxide semiconducting lightabsorbers for photoelectrochemical water splitting to produce "green" hydrogen. Now he is following a call to the Institute of Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel (HUJI), where he will lead his own research group.
- New discoveries into how the body stores zincZinc deficiency is a global health problem affecting many people and results in a weak immune system in adults and especially in children. This is a challenge for health systems and is quite evident in the Mexican population, for example. Seeking explanations, researchers in Mexico teamed up with international synchrotron experts and gained new insights from studying Drosophila fruit flies, which are known to be a decent model system for human zinc metabolism.
Thanks to beamtime at BESSY II and at the SLS (PSI), they were able to show that the zinc stores in Drosophila flies depend on the tryptophan content of their diet.
- International consortium to advance decarbonisation of the aviation sectorJOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – 24 May 2022: CARE-O-SENE research project will develop advanced catalysts for sustainable aviation fuels
The company Sasol and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will lead a consortium to develop and optimise next-generation catalysts that will play a key role in decarbonising the aviation sector through sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
- Shutdown at BESSY II: new supply technology ensures long-term operationThe X-ray source BESSY II is in a three-month period of shutdown. During this period, the low voltage main distribution panel in the supply building outside the electron storage ring is being renovated. This will secure the long-term operation of BESSY II over the next decade.
- Thermal insulation for quantum technologiesNew energy-efficient IT components often only operate stably at extremely low temperatures. Therefore, very good thermal insulation of such elements is crucial, which requires the development of materials with extremely low thermal conductivity. A team at HZB has now used a novel sintering process to produce nanoporous silicon aluminium samples in which pores and nanocrystallites impede the transport of heat and thus drastically reduce thermal conductivity. The researchers have developed a model for predicting the thermal conductivity, which was confirmed using experimental data on the microstructure of the samples and their thermal conductivity. Thus, for the first time, a method is available for the targeted development of complex porous materials with ultra-low thermal conductivity.
- Magnetic nanoparticles in biological vehicles individually characterisedMagnetic nanostructures are promising tools for medical applications. Incorporated into biological structures, they can be steered via external magnetic fields inside the body to release drugs or to destroy cancer cells. However, until now, only average information on the magnetic properties of those nanoparticles could be obtained, thus limiting their successful implementations in therapies. Now a team at HZB conceived and tested a new method to assess the characteristic parameters of every single magnetic nanoparticle.
- A high-ranking Brazilian delegation visited HZBOn 16 May 2022, HZB received a delegation from the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). Vice-Minister of Science Sergio Freitas de Almeida was visibly impressed by the many research activities being done at HZB to drive the transition to a climate-neutral energy supply in society forward.
- Royal visit from Sweden at HZBKing Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden as well as a group of business leaders from large corporations such as Ericsson, Nordholt, Vattenfall, ABB, Schneider Electric and Swedish representatives from the public sector and academia visited the Adlershof Technology Park on 11 May 2022.
- Light for cutting-edge research from Germany: an exchange with German MPsOn 13 May, three research centres of the Helmholtz Association - DESY, HZDR and HZB - presented their joint strategy for accelerator-based light sources to German MPs.
- Jan Lüning heads HZB Institute for Electronic Structure DynamicsThe HZB Institute for Electronic Structure Dynamics, newly founded on 1 May, develops experimental techniques and infrastructures to investigate the dynamics of elementary microscopic processes in novel material systems. This will help to optimise functional materials for sustainable technologies.
- How electron spin coupling affects catalytic oxygen activationA team at the EPR4Energy joint lab of HZB and MPI CEC has developed a new THz EPR spectroscopy method to study the catalytic activation of molecular oxygen by copper complexes. The method allows insights into previously inaccessible spin-spin interactions and the function of novel catalytic and magnetic materials.
- BESSY Facility Speaker: “I am absolutely thrilled at how international we have become”For 75 years, synchrotron radiation sources have been indispensable for gaining knowledge. Antje Vollmer talks about international networking, a new record at the X-ray source BESSY II – and how she can tell from the research applications alone which social problems are particularly pressing at the moment.
- HZB hosts Humboldt Research Award Winner Alexei GruvermanProfessor Alexei Gruverman was granted a Humboldt Research Award in October 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic, he could not travel until this year. For a few months he is now hosted by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin at the Institute “Functional oxides for energy efficient information technology”.
- Perovskite solar cells: Properties still remain enigmaticIn order to explain the particularly favourable properties of perovskite semiconductors for solar cells, various hypotheses are circulating. Polarons or a giant Rashba effect, for example, are thought to play a major role. A team at BESSY II has now experimentally disproved these hypotheses. In doing so, they further narrow down the possible causes for the transport properties and enable better approaches for the targeted optimisation of this class of materials.
- PhD Amran Al-Ashouri: Doubling down for the energy transitionClimate change has Amran Al-Ashouri concerned. As a physicist, he knows how urgently and quickly measures need to be taken to limit the global temperature increase to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. In his private life, the 29-year-old scientist is accordingly a member of the association “climactivity”, which aims to educate as many people as possible about important matters in climate protection.
- SNI2022 – Abstract submission extended to 1 May 2022The 5th Conference for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons and Ion Beams at Large Facilities takes place form 5 - 7 September 2022 in Berlin. In response to a great demand the deadline for the abstract submission to the SNI2022 conference has been extended to 1 May. Take this opportunity and submit your abstract by Sunday!
- Quantsol Summer School 2022 – Call for ApplicationFrom September 4th to 11th Quantsol Summer School 2022 will inform on basic principles of solar energy conversion.
The International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol) will be held in September 2022 in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal, Austria. Applications can be submitted through the school’s homepage until June 7th 2022. The school is organised by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Technical University of Ilmenau.
- Die neue lichtblick ist da!In der neuen Ausgabe der lichtblick stellen wir Renske van der Veen in der Titelgeschichte vor. Sie ist seit Sommer 2021 am HZB und baut eine neue Forschungsgruppe auf. Warum sie aus den USA nach Deutschland gekommen ist und wo die kulturellen Unterschiede liegen, erzählt sie darin.
- Researchers discover why tendons are strong as wire ropesA team at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI) has discovered with help of BESSY II new properties of collagen: During the intercalation of minerals in collagen fibers, a contraction tension is generated that is hundreds of times stronger than muscle strength. The associated changes in the collagen structure were observed using X-ray diffraction at the BESSY II synchrotron in Berlin-Adlershof while mineralization was taking place.
- Solar hydrogen: Better photoelectrodes through flash heatingProducing low-cost metal-oxide thin films with high electronic quality for solar water splitting is not an easy task. Especially since quality improvements of the upper metal oxide thin films need thermal processing at high temperatures, which would melt the underlying glass substrate. Now, a team at HZB-Institute for Solar Fuels has solved this dilemma: A high intensity and rapid light pulse directly heats the semiconducting metal-oxide thin film, allowing to achieve the optimal heating conditions without damaging the substrate.
- Quantum complexity grows linearly for an exponentially long timePhysicists know about the huge chasm between quantum physics and the theory of gravity. However, in recent decades, theoretical physics has provided some plausible conjecture to bridge this gap and to describe the behaviour of complex quantum many-body systems, for example black holes and wormholes in the universe. Now, a theory group at Freie Universität Berlin and HZB, together with Harvard University, USA, has proven a mathematical conjecture about the behaviour of complexity in such systems, increasing the viability of this bridge. The work is published in Nature Physics.
- Newsletter made snazzyWe have refreshed the newsletters from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Even clearer, even more concise, you will now receive an overview of the most important news from the HZB every month.
- An ultrafast X-ray glance into photoacid electronic structurePhotoacids are molecules that release a proton upon electronic excitation, thus enhancing the acidity of a liquid. Pioneering work by Theodor Förster has shown the direct relationship between the wavelength position of optical absorption and acidity properties with which the increase in acidity in the first electronic excited state can be quantified. However, underlying full microscopic explanations for the photoacidity phenomenon have remained sparse. With ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy, locally probing the electronic structure of a proton donating group of an amine aromatic photoacid has now provided direct insight in the changes of electronic structure. The long standing open question for photoacidity has now finally been resolved: major electronic structure changes occur on the base side of the so-called Förster cycle, whereas the acid side plays a minor role.
- We condemn the military attack on UkraineIt is with great dismay that we are witnessing Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, launched on 24 February 2022. We condemn this grave breach of international law. We are concerned for all the inhabitants of Ukraine and in particular for the researchers and students affected by the war. They have our unconditional solidarity.
- Fermi Arcs in an Antiferromagnet detected at BESSY IIAn international cooperation has analysed samples of NdBi crystals which display interesting magnetic properties. In their experiments including measurements at BESSY II they could find evidence for so called Fermi arcs in the antiferromagnetic state of the sample at low temperatures. This observation is not yet explained by existing theoretical ideas and opens up exciting possibilities to make use of these kind of materials for innovative information technologies based on the electron spin rather than the charge.
- The State Secretary Armaghan Naghipour visits HZBOn Friday, 18 March 2022, the State Secretary Armaghan Naghipour was in Adlershof and visited the HZB.
- Unravelling tautomeric mixtures: RIXS at BESSY II allows to see clearlyA team at HZB has developed a method of experimentally unravelling tautomeric mixtures. Based on resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) at BESSY II, not only proportions of the tautomers can be deduced, but the properties of each individual tautomer can be studied selectively. This method could yield to detailed information on the properties of molecules and their biological function. In the present study, now advertised on the cover of “The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters” the technique was applied to the prototypical keto-enol equilibrium.
- HZB has signed the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity Charter)
HZB is an employer that comprehensively strengthens and cares for the diversity of its employees. HZB publicly acknowledges this by signing the Diversity Charter. The charter is run by an association that works to anchor diversity in the working world.
- "We can be proud that it worked out": BESSY and the Transregio-SFB on ultrafast spin dynamics
Collaborative Research projects as “Sonderforschungsbereiche” funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft enable universities to build up their own research capacities. In the Transregio Sonderforschungsbereich 227 Ultrafast Spin Dynamic, the Freie Universität Berlin and the University in Halle-Wittenberg have also included HZB as a partner. The slicing facility of BESSY II plays a central role in this collaboration. With excellent results from the first phase, the Transregio-SFB 227 has completed its first interim review and is now preparing for the challenges ahead. A conversation with the two HZB physicists Niko Pontius and Christian Schüßler-Langeheine about the importance of such funding programmes for the research field.
- Knowledge transfer: BAIP consulting office becomes permanent at HZBThe BAIP consulting office for building-integrated photovoltaics has been launched as a knowledge transfer project in 2019, funded by the Helmholtz Association's Initiative and Networking Fund. In order to build a bridge between the world of construction and photovoltaics, the consulting office provides comprehensive knowledge for architects, planners, builder-owners, investors and urban developers. After an excellent evaluation, the BAIP consulting office will be permanently financed by HZB.
- From Dublin to Berlin as a Humboldt Research FellowDr. Katarzyna Siewierska joins the group of Prof. Alexander Föhlisch as a postdoctoral Humboldt Research fellow. She has earned her PhD at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and plans in the next two years to explore the electronic structure and spin dynamics of half-metallic thin films at BESSY II. Understanding these spintronic materials better may pave the way for more energy efficient data storage technologies.
- From Lab to Fab: World Record Solar Cell Goes from Lab to IndustryQ CELLS and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin achieve a new world record efficiency for a 2-terminal tandem solar cell combining a mass-production ready silicon bottom cell based on Q.ANTUM technology and a top-cell based on perovskite technology. The efficiency is 28.7%.
- Predicting solar cell performance from terahertz and microwave spectroscopyMany semiconducting materials are possible candidates for solar cells. In recent years, perovskite semiconductors in particular have attracted attention, as they are both inexpensive and easy to process and enable high efficiencies. Now a study with 15 participating research institutions shows how terahertz (TRTS) and microwave spectroscopy (TRMC) can be used to reliably determine the mobility and lifetime of the charge carriers in new semiconducting materials. Using these measurement data it is possible to predict the potential efficiency of the solar cell in advance and to classify the losses in the finished cell.
- SNI2022 Registration and Call for Abstracts is open!
The 5th Conference for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons and Ion Beams at Large Facilities takes place form 5.-7. September 2022 in Berlin. The registration for this event organised by HZB is now open! The Early Bird rate is valid until 26. June.
- “Workhorse” of silicon photovoltaics combined with perovskite in tandem for the first timeSo-called PERC cells are used in mass production of silicon solar cells, they are considered the workhorses of photovoltaics, dominating the market. Now two teams from HZB and the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH) have shown that such standard silicon cells are also suitable as a basis for tandem cells with perovskite top cells. Currently, the efficiency of the tandem cell is still below that of optimised PERC cells alone, but could be increased to up to 29.5% through targeted optimisation. The research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics as part of a joint project.
- International research at BESSY II continued even in the corona year 2021
2021 was not an easy year for international research: owing to lockdowns and travel bans, science was hit hard by the pandemic situation. Nevertheless, experiments continued at a high level at the BESSY II light source in Berlin Adlershof – thanks in part to new remote service offers. Here are the figures at a glance.
- Lithium-Sulfur batteries: First multimodal analysis in pouch cell formatLithium-sulphur (Li/S) batteries have significantly higher energy densities than conventional lithium-ion batteries, but age very quickly. Now, for the first time, a team at HZB has investigated Li/S batteries in the industry-relevant pouch cell format with different electrolytes during operation. Teams from TU Dresden and the Fraunhofer IWS were also involved in the study. With a specially developed measuring cell, impedance, temperature and pressure can be recorded at different times and combined with radiographic images. The evaluation shows how the electrolyte affects the formation of unwanted sulphur particles and polysulphides. The study has been published in the renowned journal Advanced Energy Materials.
- Dissertation Prize Adlershof 2021 goes to Amran Al-Ashouri
On February 17, 2022, the Adlershof Dissertation Prize was awarded for the 20th time. Dr. Amran Al-Ashouri (3rd from right) from the HZB young investigator research group "Perovskite tandem solar cells" received the prize endowed with 3,000 euros. The physicist is researching how new organic contact layers can be used to optimize highly efficient perovskite silicon tandem solar cells.
- Innovative catalysts: An expert reviewHighly efficient (electro-)catalysts are essential for the production of green hydrogen, the chemical industry, fertiliser production and other sectors of the economy. In addition to transition metals, a variety of other metallic or non-metallic elements have now moved into the focus of research. In a review article, experts from CatLab and Technische Universität Berlin present an overview on current knowledge and a perspective on future research questions.
- New board „HZB Succeed“ has been foundedTo support the development of young scientists at HZB in the best possible way - this has been a long-standing goal of the HZB. Now this task will be pursued even more strategically. To this end, the new board “HZB Succeed” has been founded in January 2022.
- Restructuring in HZB managementIn a special meeting of the HZB Supervisory Board on 8 February 2022, Prof. Jan Lüning retreated from his position of Scientific Director of HZB. Lüning asked in December to be dismissed and the Supervisory Board has now acquiesced to his request.
- Our new career page is online!Starting this year, the HZB has a new career website.
- Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin appoints Eva Unger to professorshipEva Unger was now appointed as W2 professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Prof. Dr. Eva Unger leads a research group at HZB. She develops scalable technologies for the production of perovskite semiconductors for low-cost and highly efficient solar cells.
- User research at BESSY II: Unveiling the secrets of biofilmsMost bacteria have the ability to form communities, biofilms, that adhere to a wide variety of surfaces and are difficult to remove. This can lead to major problems, for example in hospitals or in the food industry. Now, an international team led by Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and the Technical University Dresden, has studied a model system for biofilms at the synchrotron radiation facilities BESSY II at HZB and the ESRF and found out what role the structures within the biofilm play in the distribution of nutrients and water.
- New 12 T magnet on BESSY II’s experimental floor strengthens energy and magnetism researchElectron paramagnetic resonance (THz-EPR) at BESSY II provides important information on the electronic structure of novel magnetic materials and catalysts. In mid-January 2022, the researchers brought a new, superconducting 12-T magnet into operation at this end station, which promises new scientific insights.
- A sundial of a different kindTurning a scientific question into a product is the requirement that the winners of the HZB Technology Transfer Prize should fulfil. The team led by Tobias Henschel, Bernd Stannowski and Sebastian Neubert won more than just a prize.
- Call for “Helmholtz young investigator groups”: apply now!We are looking for young excellent scientists looking for leadership! Do you want to perform an innovative research project in one of HZB's research fields? Then apply by 28.02.2022!
- An electronic rainbow – perovskite spectrometer by inkjet printingResearchers from Innovation Lab HySPRINT at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU) have used an advanced inkjet printing technique to produce a large range of photodetector devices based on a hybrid perovskite semiconductor. By mixing of only three inks, the researchers were able to precisely tune the semiconductor properties during the printing process. Inkjet printing is already an established fabrication method in industry, allowing fast and cheap solution processing. Extending the inkjet capabilities from large area coating towards combinatorial material synthesis opens the door for new possibilities for the fabrication of different kind of electronic components in a single printing step.
- A Wiki for Perovskite Solar Cell ResearchAn international team of experts has collected data on metal halide perovskite solar cells from more than 15,000 publications and developed a database with visualisation options and analysis tools. The database is open source and provides an overview of the rapidly growing knowledge as well as the open questions in this exciting class of materials. The study was initiated by HZB scientist Dr. Eva Unger and implemented and coordinated by her postdoc Jesper Jacobsson.
- New issue of lichtblick is out - with a big Christmas puzzle!In the cover story this time we introduce Felicia Laberer. At the age of 20, the trainee has already achieved a lot, for example third place at the Paralympics. The canoeist talks about her life between vocational school, work and training at the Olympic base.
- Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize and Innovation Award on Synchrotron RadiationThis year, the Friends of HZB awarded the Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize to the outstanding doctoral thesis of Dr Fredrik Johansson (Institut des NanoSciences de Paris, CNRS, Sorbonne). The European Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation went to Professor Marianne Liebi and Dr Manuel Guizar-Sicairos, both from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI, Switzerland). The award ceremony took place at this year's HZB user meeting, which had to be held digitally again this year and attracted nearly 400 participants.
- Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen: Aufruf zu mehr Sachlichkeit in KrisensituationenZur aktuellen Berichterstattung der BILD-Zeitung im Zusammenhang mit der Coronavirus-Pandemie erklärt die Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen:
„Die BILD-Zeitung setzt mit dem Beitrag „Die Lockdown-Macher“ vom 4. Dezember 2021 ihre im vergangenen Jahr begonnene einseitige Berichterstattung gegen Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler fort, die ihre fachliche Expertise in den Dienst von Politik und Gesellschaft stellen, um der Coronavirus-Pandemie und ihren gerade in diesen Tagen dramatisch sichtbaren Folgen zu begegnen.
- Liquid crystals for fast switching devicesAn international team has investigated a newly synthesized liquid-crystalline material that promises applications in optoelectronics. Simple rod-shaped molecules with a single center of chirality self-assemble into helical structures at room temperature. Using soft X-ray resonant scattering at BESSY II, the scientists have now been able to determine the pitch of the helical structure with high precision. Their results indicate an extremely short pitch at only about 100 nanometres which would enable applications with particularly fast switching processes.
- Green information technologies: Superconductivity meets SpintronicsSuperconducting coupling between two regions separated by a one micron wide ferromagnetic compound has been proved by an international team. This macroscopic quantum effect, known as Josephson effect, generates an electrical current within the ferromagnetic compound made of superconducting Cooper-pairs. Magnetic imaging of the ferromagnetic region at BESSY II has contributed to demonstrate that the spin of the electrons forming the Cooper pairs are equal. These results pave the way for low-power consumption superconducting spintronic-applications where spin-polarized currents can be protected by quantum coherence.
- Neutron data help to reveal “spooky” entanglement in quantum magnetsUsing data from the British neutron source ISIS from the year 2000, research teams have now demonstrated the viability of a “quantum entanglement witness” capable of proving the presence of entanglement between magnetic particles, or spins, in a quantum material. A team from HZB led by Prof. Bella Lake was also involved in the analysis.
- BIPV – Chance für die Photovoltaik im urbanen Kontext: Jetzt anmeldenDas Webinar „Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik (BIPV) – Chance für die Photovoltaik im urbanen Kontext“ widmet sich der Photovoltaik im Gebäudesektor, der für die Klimaneutralität eine wichtige Rolle spielt.
- World record again at HZB: Almost 30 % efficiency for next-generation tandem solar cellsThree HZB teams led by Prof. Christiane Becker, Prof. Bernd Stannowski and Prof. Steve Albrecht have jointly managed to increase the efficiency of perovskite silicon tandem solar cells fabricated completely at HZB to a new record value of 29.80 %. The value has now been officially certified and is documented in the NREL-charts. This brings the 30 percent mark within reach.
- Walter-Schottky-Award for Felix BüttnerThe Walter Schottky Prize honours outstanding work by young physicists in solid-state research. For 2022, the award goes to HZB physicist Dr Felix Büttner for his groundbreaking achievements in the field of magnetic skyrmions.
- Germany on the road to net zero: a new Web Atlas shows the optionsWhich technical and nature-based options as well as political decisions can support Germany in being CO2-neutral? These questions are answered by the new web atlas of the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon. The new tool is aimed at politicians, experts and the public. The HZB has also contributed to the web atlas.
- Vote for Felicia Laberer as young sportswoman of the year!At her first Paralympics participation, Felicia Laberer won bronze in Tokyo. For the 20-year-old athlete, this is a dream come true - after hard weeks of training. Support Felicia in her election as Young Sportswoman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year in Berlin!
- "Green" chemistry: BESSY II sheds light on mechanochemical synthesisIn mechanochemistry, reagents are finely ground and mixed so that they combine to form the desired product, even without need for solvent. By eliminating solvent, this technology promises to contribute significantly towards ‘green’ and environmentally benign chemical manufacture in the future. However, there are still major gaps in understanding the key processes that occur during mechanical treatment and reaction. A team led by the Federal Institute for Materials Research (BAM) has now developed a method at BESSY II to observe these processes in situ with X-ray scattering.
- 20 Years Russian-German Joint Laboratory at BESSY IITo mark its 20th anniversary, the Russian-German Laboratory at the BESSY II storage ring for synchrotron radiation in Berlin is organising an online workshop on 18 and 19 November. Scientists will discuss the future perspectives of Russian-German cooperation as well as innovative projects and new goals of the laboratory.
- Live broadcast at HZB - now as podcast!After a live broadcast the programme "Die Profis" is now online as a podcast.
- Stifterverband certifies Helmholtz Centre Berlin for strategies in dealing with diversityThe Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is the first non-university research institution to have undergone the Stifterverband's diversity audit "Vielfalt gestalten". The certification attests to the HZB's opportunity-oriented concepts and measures for diverse groups of people.
- Professorship for Antonio Abate at Bielefeld UniversityDr. Antonio Abate investigates perovskite semiconductors for low-cost and highly efficient solar cells and heads a large research group at the Helmholtz Centre Berlin. Now he has accepted a W2 professorship in the Department of Chemistry at Bielefeld University.
- Spintronics: Exotic ferromagnetic order in two-dimensionsAn international team has detected at HZB's vector magnet facility VEKMAG an unusual ferromagnetic property in a two-dimensional system, known as “easy-plane anisotropy”. This could foster new energy efficient information technologies based on spintronics for data storage, among other things. The team has published its results in the renowned journal Science.
- Life Time Achievement Award for Roland MüllerAccelerator and control systems expert Roland Müller received the ICALEPCS Lifetime Achievement Award. In the more than thirty years of his career at BESSY, the physicist has advanced many projects on control systems at accelerators and has been particularly committed to the international exchange of knowledge.
- Ultrafast magnetism: heating magnets, freezing timeMagnetic solids can be demagnetized quickly with a short laser pulse, and there are already so-called HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) memories on the market that function according to this principle. However, the microscopic mechanisms of ultrafast demagnetization remain unclear. Now, a team at HZB has developed a new method at BESSY II to quantify one of these mechanisms and applied it to the rare-earth element Gadolinium, whose magnetic properties are caused by electrons on both the 4f and the 5d shells. This study is completing a series of experiments done by the team on Nickel, Iron-Nickel Alloys. Understanding these mechanisms is useful for developing ultrafast data storage devices.
- Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg appoints Olga KasianDr. Olga Kasian is investigating why catalysts for hydrogen production by water electrolysis are limited in efficiency. The chemist has now accepted a professorship at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The W2 professorship is entitled "Materials for Electrochemical Energy Conversion" and is located at the Faculty of Engineering.
- Solar energy for a sport watch: HZB Technology Transfer Prize 2021 awardedAt first glance, it looks like an ordinary wristwatch. But its glass taps the energy of the sun. A research group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has made this possible. Their transparent photovoltaics have now even made it into mass production, securing the team this year's HZB Technology Transfer Award.
- Portrait Annette Pietzsch: Researching fundamental phenomena of our worldAnnette Pietzsch has many jobs: the physicist develops instruments for BESSY II that researchers can use to observe how molecules interact with each other. She mostly prefers to use the instruments to do her own research. This is what brought her from Sweden to HZB ten years ago.
- Perovskite solar cells: Defects trap charge carriers - and release them againAn international team at HZB and Charles University Prague has investigated how charge carriers in so called MAPI-perovskite semiconductors interact with different defects. They show that a large proportion of defects quickly releases trapped charge carriers. These results could help to further improve the properties of perovskite solar cells.
- A sharp look into tiny ferroelectric crystalsWhat happens to ferroelectric materials when their dimensions are greatly reduced? A team of researchers at HZB has now been able to show how this question can be answered in a detailed way.
- Beam diagnostics for future laser wakefield acceleratorsFor decades, particle accelerators have been getting bigger and bigger. In the meantime, ring accelerators with circumferences of many kilometres have reached a practical limit. Linear accelerators in the GHz range also require very long construction lengths. For some years now, however, an alternative is explored: "tabletop particle accelerators" based on the laser excitation of charge waves in plasmas (laser wakefield). Such compact particle accelerators would be particularly interesting for future accelerator-driven light sources, but are also being investigated for high-energy physics. A team from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has developed a method to precisely measure the cross-section of electron bunches accelerated in this way. This brings applications of these new accelerator technologies for medicine and research closer.
- New world record in materials research - X-ray microscopy with 1000 tomograms per secondTomoscopy is an imaging method in which three-dimensional images of the inside of materials are calculated in rapid succession. Now a team led by HZB physicist Francisco García Moreno has achieved a new world record at the TOMCAT beamline of the Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institute: with 1000 tomograms per second, it is now possible to non-destructively document very fast processes and developments in materials on the micrometre scale, such as the burning of a sparkler or the foaming of a metal alloy for the production of stable lightweight materials.
- BR50: How Berlin could be developed into a world-leading science metropolisOn 26 September, not only the Bundestag but also the Berlin House of Representatives will be newly elected. In a position paper, the non-university institutions in the capital that are united in Berlin Research 50 now emphasise what is important for research after the election. In it, they outline 10 demands that the future Senate should implement in order to further strengthen Berlin as a science metropolis.
- Technology Transfer Award ceremony on 5.10.: Visit the poster exhibitionsOn 5 October, the best innovation project from HZB will be awarded the Technology Transfer Prize 2021. The award ceremony will be broadcast online from the BESSY II lecture hall from 2 pm. You can already find out about all the submitted projects in our exhibition, which can be found from 21.09 in Wannsee in front of the colloquium room and in Adlershof in front of the BESSY cafeteria.
- Royal Society of Chemistry praises HZB team’s paper on hybrid perovskite structuresFor the 10th anniversary collection of its journal, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) selected a paper published by a team from HZB. The paper from HZB is described as one of the most important contributions in the field of solar energy in recent years. The journal praised 23 selected papers that had been often cited or downloaded, and which offered a valuable advantage for further research.
- Surface analysis at BESSY II: sharper insights into thin-film systems
Interfaces in semiconductor components or solar cells play a crucial role for functionality. Nevertheless, until now it has often been difficult to investigate adjacent thin films separately using spectroscopic methods. An HZB team at BESSY II has combined two different spectroscopic methods and used a model system to demonstrate how well they can be distinguished.
- A warm welcome at HZB for our bronze medal winner Felicia LabererWhat a race! At just 20 years old, Felicia Laberer outdistanced the competition in the single kayak at the Paralympics final in Tokyo and won bronze for Germany.
- HZB uses electricity-producing facade wall as real laboratoryIn the presence of the State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Energy and Operations of the State of Berlin, Christian Rickerts, the HZB officially commissioned the solar façade of a new research building on 6 September 2021. What makes it so special is that the elegant façade not only generates up to 50 kilowatts of electricity (peak power). It also provides important insights into the behaviour of the solar modules under different weather conditions.
- Paralympics: Colleague Felicia Laberer wins bronze medalFelicia Laberer wins a bronze medal in canoeing at the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo. We are happy with her and congratulate very much. At HZB, the 20-year-old is currently an apprentice as an office management assistant. In June, the canoeist had already earned the European Championship.
- Disorder brings out quantum physical talentsQuantum effects are most noticeable at extremely low temperatures, which limits their usefulness for technical applications. Thin films of MnSb2Te4, however, show new talents due to a small excess of manganese. Apparently, the resulting disorder provides spectacular properties: The material proves to be a topological insulator and is ferromagnetic up to comparatively high temperatures of 50 Kelvin, measurements at BESSY II show. This makes this class of material suitable for quantum bits, but also for spintronics in general or applications in high-precision metrology.
- On the trail of lithium dendrites: How destructive formations develop in batteriesTiny formations inside lithium batteries can severely limit the operating life of an energy storage device. A research team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now investigated the process behind these formations in greater detail. Their results provide anchor points for the future development of longer-lasting and safer lithium batteries.
- HZB Highlight Report 2019/2020 is online
What was going on at HZB in 2019 and 2020? Quite a lot! Just take a look at our highlight report, in which we briefly present the most important scientific highlights, for example our world records for tandem solar cells, which teams from HZB were able to achieve.
- Precision measurements lead to breakthroughs: HZB is planning the construction of a new accelerator-based light sourceFor the 200th birthday of Hermann von Helmholtz, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is celebrating by hosting a festive event in Berlin-Adlershof. The polymath Helmholtz still inspires researchers to this day, now notably in the planning of an accelerator-based light source of the latest generation, which HZB is presenting at the event. It will generate light of special quality for research. Governing Mayor Michael Müller has stressed the importance of a new light source for the research location Berlin.
- New issue of "lichtblick" is online
New technological solutions are needed to curb climate change. Experts agree that green hydrogen is an important building block. By joining forces with internationally renowned research partners and industry, novel catalysts are now to be developed and launched. They are crucial so that green hydrogen can be produced cheaply and efficiently. You can read more about the ambitious goals of the project on the centre page.
- Perovskite solar cells: Interfacial loss mechanisms revealed
Metal-organic perovskite materials promise low-cost and high-performance solar cells. Now a group at HZB managed to de-couple the different effects of self-assembled monolayers of organic molecules (SAMs) that reduce losses at the interfaces. Their results help to optimise such functional interlayers.
- Neutron instrument VSANS will move to Penn State University, USA
At the end of 2019, the Berlin neutron source BER II was shut down as scheduled. To ensure that the high-quality instruments can continue to be used for research, they are moving to suitable neutron sources in Germany and abroad. Now, another move has been agreed upon: The Very Small Angle Scattering Instrument (VSANS) will find a new home at the Breazeale Research Reactor at Penn State University, USA, in spring 2022.
- Review: X-ray scattering methods with synchrotron radiationSynchrotron light sources provide brilliant light with a focus on the X-ray region and have enormously expanded the possibilities for characterising materials. In the Reviews of Modern Physics, an international team now gives an overview of elastic and inelastic X-ray scattering processes, explains the theoretical background and sheds light on what insights these methods provide in physics, chemistry as well as bio- and energy related themes.
- Registration open: HZB Machine Learning Summer School & Hackathon 2021
Registration for the HZB Machine Learning Summer School is now open! Building on the great response last year, the HZB Machine Learning Summer School will be offered again in 2021. You will be able to learn from experts how to leverage machine learning to solve problems in the natural sciences and how to apply your knowledge in exciting real-world hackathon projects, all free of charge. Applications can be submitted until August 22, 2021.
- HZB coordinates European collaboration to develop active agents against CoronaX-ray structure analysis at BESSY II enables the systematic testing of many thousands of molecules that could inhibit the reproduction and virulence of SARS-CoV2 viruses. Now, a team at HZB with partners from Austria and the Czech Republic has set up the NECESSITY project to investigate more than 8000 compounds in a high-throughput procedure and develop active agents against COVID-19.
- Green hydrogen: Why do certain catalysts improve in operation?Crystalline cobalt arsenide is a catalyst that generates oxygen during electrolytic water splitting in the production of hydrogen. The material is considered to be a model system for an important group of catalysts whose performance increases under certain conditions in the course of electrolysis. Now a HZB-team headed by Marcel Risch has observed at BESSY II how two simultaneous mechanisms are responsible for this. The catalytic activity of the individual catalysis centres decreases in the course of electrolysis, but at the same time the morphology of the catalyst layer also changes. Under favourable conditions, considerably more catalysis centres come into contact with the electrolyte as a result, so that the overall performance of the catalyst increases.
- Mehr als nur "Fassade": Nachhaltige Energieversorgung durch SolarfassadenEin Beitrag über die nachhaltige Energieversorgung durch Solarfassaden
- When vibrations increase on cooling: Anti-freezing observedAn international team has observed an amazing phenomenon in a nickel oxide material during cooling: Instead of freezing, certain fluctuations actually increase as the temperature drops. Nickel oxide is a model system that is structurally similar to high-temperature superconductors. The experiment shows once again that the behaviour of this class of materials still holds surprises.
- Helmholtz anniversary exhibition opens in Potsdam
Helmholtz, who was born in Potsdam, is considered one of the most influential natural scientists of his time. 31 August is the 200th anniversary of his birth. To mark the anniversary, the proWissen Potsdam association and the University of Potsdam, in cooperation with the Helmholtz Association, are paying tribute to Helmholtz, the polymath and genius from the Havel, with a two-part exhibition on the red construction fence next to the Education Forum and in the Science Floor in Potsdam.
- Water as a metal - detected at BESSY IIUnder normal conditions, pure water is an almost perfect insulator. Water only develops metallic properties under extreme pressure, such as exists deep inside of large planets. Now, an international collaboration has used a completely different approach to produce metallic water and documented the phase transition at BESSY II. The study is published now in Nature.
- Battery research - SkaLiS project funded with 2.2 million eurosPowerful, compact, and affordable batteries are needed for the energy transition. Groups at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) led by Prof. Yan Lu, Dr. Ingo Manke, and Dr. Sebastian Risse are conducting this research. They are investigating and developing novel types of electrode materials based on sulphur and silicon. Risse is now also coordinating a large project involving teams from HZB as well as from the University of Potsdam near Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Technische Universität Dresden and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS Dresden.
- Lead-free perovskite solar cells - How fluoride additives improve qualityTin halide perovskites are currently considered the best alternative to their lead-containing counterparts, which are, however, still significantly less efficient and stable. Now, a team led by Prof. Antonio Abate from HZB has analysed the chemical processes in the perovskite precursor solution and the fluoride compounds in detail. Using a clever combination of measurement methods at BESSY II and with NMR at the Humboldt-University Berlin, they were able to show that fluoride prevents the oxidation of tin and leads to a more homogeneous film formation with fewer defects, increasing the quality of the semiconductor layer.
- Virtual visits at HZB and 360° PanoramaDue to Corona, it is currently not possible to welcome groups of visitors at HZB and guide them through the facility. Nevertheless, we open our doors virtually for you and provide insights into research facilities and labs at HZB. Make yourself comfortable and start your own virtual tour through BESSY II. Move through 360-degree images, have a look and linger at selected stations.
- Faster development of efficient solar cells and LEDs thanks to HZB spin-offScientists from the Helmholtz Innovation Lab HySPRINT at HZB spun off the technology company QYB Quantum Yield Berlin GmbH at the beginning of April 2021. The spin-off is launching LuQY Pro, a ready-to-use measurement instrument that can help develop and optimise optoelectronic components such as solar cells and LEDs in a more efficient and resource-saving manner.
- Future information technologies: Topological materials for ultrafast spintronicsA team led by HZB physicist Dr. Jaime Sánchez-Barriga has gained new insights into the ultrafast response of topological states of matter to femtosecond laser excitation. Using time- and spin-resolved methods at BESSY II, the physicists explored how, after optical excitation, the complex interplay in the behavior of excited electrons in the bulk and on the surface results in unusual spin dynamics. The work is an important step on the way to spintronic devices based on topological materials for ultrafast information processing.
- Hi ERN - New headquarters of the Helmholtz Institute in Erlangen inauguratedThe Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg, Hi ERN, in which the HZB is involved, has moved into its new building.
Almost exactly four years lie between the groundbreaking ceremony and the festive inauguration: the new research building of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energies (Hi ERN) is another address for cutting-edge research.
- DAPHNE - Data for Photon and Neutron ExperimentsData in the petabyte range are produced annually at large-scale facilities. This research data must be stored for at least ten years. Now 19 scientific institutions in Germany, among them HZB, aim to develop common standards for software, data exchange and data repositories to make research data permanently available. The DAPHNE4NFDI project will be funded over the next five years as part of the National Research Data Infrastructure and is coordinated by DESY.
- Solar hydrogen for Antarctica - study shows advantages of thermally coupled approachA team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Ulm University, and Heidelberg University has now investigated how hydrogen can be produced at the South Pole using sunlight, and which method is the most promising. Their conclusion: in extremely cold regions, it can be considerably more efficient to attach the PV modules directly to the electrolyser, i.e. to thermally couple them. This is because the waste heat from the PV modules increases the efficiency of electrolysis in this environment. The results of this study, which has now been published in Energy & Environmental Science, are also relevant for other cold regions on Earth, such as Alaska, Canada, and high mountain regions, for example. In these places, solar hydrogen could replace fossil fuels such as oil and petrol.
- Synchrotrons accelerate corona researchInformation by the German Committee Research with Synchrotron Radiation (KFS).
Synchrotron light sources were originally built to study particles. Today, they are even used in the fight against COVID-19. The projects are as diverse as the fields of the synchrotron users, who come from universities, research institutions and companies like BioNTech.
- Tailwind for top research in Germany
Three research centres in the Helmholtz Association have developed a joint future plan for the research conducted at the scientific light sources they operate in Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. The upgrades proposed in the strategy for their world-class accelerator-based facilities will strengthen Germany as a research location and promote innovations in many different fields. The strategy paper was presented on 28 June at the Helmholtz Symposium “Research Infrastructures of the Future” as a component of the Helmholtz Roadmap.