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Proposal Submission

Twice a year the HZB User Coordination welcomes the submission of proposals for the large scale facility BESSY II, the MX beamlines and the facility EMIL.

Round GATE opens Deadline BT period
2022-I July 2021


CET 11:59 pm

January 2022 - May 2022
January 2022


CET 11:59 pm

August 2022 - December 2022


  • Beamtime applications for BESSY II, MX and EMIL may only submitted via the general access tool GATE
  • Please find a list of available instruments here
  • A guide for beamtime application can be found at our webpage or as a printable version Guidelines
  • NO deadline for CXR proposal. Applications for experiment time for the X-Ray CoreLab at Adlershof can be submitted via GATE at any time.

Please find all information about the proposal submitting process at BESSY II below:

GATE - User Access Tool

Login to GATE

The digital user office portal GATE is the general access tool to the experimental infrastructures of the HZB. There you will find a number of web applications to:

  • submit proposals
  • be a co-proposer on a proposal
  • prepare beamtime, book guesthouse rooms and apply for funding
  • participate in a HZB experiment as experimentalist
  • complete all safety trainings needed
  • request HZB badges and dosimeters
  • submit experimental reports and give user feedback
  • upload publications

Please be aware that all users who intend to apply for or take part in a beamtime must register in GATE.

Please follow these links for:

For guidance in writing a proposal please refer to the guide for beamtime application below.

FOLLOW UP - New feature starting 2022-I

Starting with proposal round 2022-I the resubmission of a former proposal without revision of the scientific case is no longer possible. The new feature FOLLOW UP will be used instead of the resubmission of a former proposal. A FOLLOW UP proposal gives you the opportunity to continue a previous project for which at least one experiment at BESSY II has been already completed.

If you want to make use of the new FOLLOW UP feature for your upcoming beamtime application in GATE, it is mandatory to  

  • submit a new proposal
  • enter the number of the former proposal to which your application refers to
  • give a short justification for the FOLLOW UP and highlight the difference to the former proposal
  • upload the corresponding experimental report

Types of Beamtimes and Proposals

The HZB offers a range of ways to request beamtime at HZB facilities.

Regular Access

Regular access is the standard route to apply for beamtime at HZB. There are two calls for proposals each year with deadlines on the 1st of March and on the 1st of September. All regular access proposals are reviewed by the HZB Scientific Selection Panel (SSP). Beamtime under regular access at HZB is free of charge for national and international academic users, provided that the results from experiments at HZB will be published in the public domain.
External users (non-HZB affiliated users) may choose one of the following options:

  • Standard (default for new proposals)
  • CRG (for groups with an existing cooperation contract with HZB)
  • BAG (only MX)

In cases of urgent experiments (hot topic research, samples with finite lifetimes, …) please contact the HZB Beamtime Coordination to discuss which possibilities might be available. 


Commercial Access

Private sector researchers can use the HZB facilities provided that the research is in collaboration with an academic partner from a university or research organization. Standard review of the proposals applies and results must be published in the public domain.

Industry users and users who do not wish to publish their results of HZB experiments in the public domain can arrange to purchase beamtime. Please contact the HZB User Coordination to discuss the details.


Access for testing (MX only)

For MX there is the possibility to apply for testing time on a short term basis. Maximum amount of testing time is one shift. Please contact the MX laboratory in advance to discuss the details.


Long term proposals (LTP)

For dedicated instruments it is possible to apply for beamtime over the period of two years (4 proposal rounds). The option is available in the technical part section of the proposal application. Instruments/beamlines available for long term proposals

  • U41-TXM

Information on long term proposals:  LTP

Guide for beamtime application

A clearly written proposal for an experiment at HZB can greatly increase the chances that the Scientific Selection Panel will recommend your application for beamtime allocation. In the following you will find hints and tips on writing the perfect proposal.

In general, one scientific proposal might request the use of several beamlines at BESSY. Before you write your proposal, we advise you to contact HZB beamline scientists/station managers to talk about your experiments. They can help you to decide on the most suitable instruments, additional equipment and the amount of time you will need to complete your experiments. It might be helpful to include the beamline scientists/station managers as co-proposer (please discuss this in advance with the respective scientist). Thus they would be able to read the proposal online and check if the technical requirements of the experiments can be fulfilled before the final submission of your proposal.

All proposals should be accompanied by reports on former HZB experiments.


Submitting proposals

Proposals must be submitted using the online proposal system GATE.

All intended co-proposers must be registered in GATE. A proposal can be entered over several sessions and you can save partially completed proposals. Editing your proposal is possible until the deadline for submissions.

New users must register their details in the online proposal system to receive an account before being able to submit a proposal. You can view and modify your personal details at any time. If you have any questions about the online proposal system, please contact the Beamtime Coordinators.


Scientific part

The heart of your proposal is the science case. This must be written in English and must be no longer than two A4 pages. The font size shall not be smaller than 12pt (written text and figure captions). In the scientific part you should address the following topics:

  • Scientific context
    You should give a clear account of the aims of the experiment and set it within the broader scientific context. Keep in mind that not all review panel members are experts in the field. List the 5 most important publications in this field of science in order to show that you are aware of the work of others.
  • Choice of specific beamline/station
    Give reasons for your choice of instrument. Justify why you need to use this particular instrument and why HZB is important.
  • Preliminary work
    If possible, give results of preliminary work carried out (for example, NMR or light scattering experiments) in support of your proposed experiment and to demonstrate sample quality.

In a separate text field you will be asked later on to state the:

  • Necessity of synchrotron radiation use
    Explain why synchrotron radiation is needed.

Technical part

In the technical part you will need to define the experimental parameters of your proposed experiment. You should choose the appropriate instrument and the desired sample environment or experimental station. Please note that not all sample environment equipment or experimental stations are available for all instruments. It is advisable to check your requirements with the sample environment team or instrument scientists/station managers in advance. If you want to apply for more than one instrument you must submit a separate technical requirement for each instrument.


Bringing your own equipment
To comply with the general safety rules of a large laboratory, potential users must ensure that the measuring equipment also fulfils certain requirements which partially depend on the beamline being used. Most importantly, measuring stations at BESSY II have to be operated under such conditions that an impairment of the beamline and storage ring vacuum is prevented. In general, this means the station itself runs under ultra high vacuum conditions.
If you intend to bring your own equipment to HZB, please contact the instrument scientist in advance and provide a risk assessment.


Experimental plan

You must give a detailed description of the experiment, including sample and parameter changes. You should also justify the amount of beamtime you asked for in the technical part.

List the number of samples and sample environment conditions (for example, temperatures, pressures, magnetic fields...) and estimate the measuring time for each sample, or sample condition, to show how you calculated the overall beamtime requirements. For a complex series of experiments, please show a breakdown of how you arrived at your final beamtime request. Also include any time needed for equipment set-up and sample equilibration. Ask the sample environment group or the instrument scientist/station manager for help if needed.

Example: 2 samples at 3 pressures and 4 temperatures for 5 hours each = 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 120 hours of beamtime



Describe the samples you intend to measure and address any relevant safety issues.


Previous results

Supply a list of recent publications from work at HZB as well as Experimental Reports related to experiments which are connected to the new beamtime application. As well as giving supporting information for your proposal, a good track record of publications following HZB experiments can increase the chances of your proposal being accepted.

Please note: The Experimental Reports must be submitted via GATE before they can be attached to the beamtime application.


You will need a 24-hour team

If your proposal is successful, you will be responsible for arranging a competent research team to be at HZB on a 24-hour basis for the duration of your beamtime. The Beamline Scientists will not act as experimentalists for your beamtime campaign. Please note that for safety reasons we have to cancel your experiment if the number of present experimentalists is insufficient.



It is important that you give accurate information about the safety of the samples and the safety of the proposed experiment. Failure to give correct information could delay the start of your experiment.

Please note: The safety declaration must be confirmed and a detailed description of all chemicals (also gases and samples) brought to BESSY II must be uploaded via GATE at least 3 weeks before the scheduled beamtime! Please go here for more information on the safety and chemicals declaration.


For your information

The following information on successful proposals will appear on the HZB webpages:

  • proposal number
  • group affiliation
  • instrument
  • days allocated

Reviewing Process - Scientific Selection Panel (SSP)

The HZB Scientific Selection Panel (SSP) assesses the scientific merit of beamtime applications and gives recommendations for beamtime allocation. The decision is based solely on the information given in the proposals and, if applicable, on results, experimental reports and publications related to previous HZB experiments. The rules of procedure of the HZB Scientific Selection Panel are available here.

The HZB Scientific Selection Panel is organised in seven Scientific Colleges, which have been grouped according to research fields, in order to facilitate discussions on the scientific merit of the proposals.

All users applying for synchrotron radiation beamtime are requested to choose the appropriate Scientific College for their proposal upon online submission:

  MXC - Macromolecular Crystallography (MX)            former College C2

Research fields/topics

  • molecular biology
  • structural biology

College MXC primarily deals with proposals related to macromolecular crystallography (e.g. protein structure determination).


  Cat - Catalysis            former College C3b

Research fields/topics

  • chemical reactions, phase transitions
  • structure, state, composition of substances of chemical relevance
  • nano-chemistry
  • catalysis, reaction pathways
  • chemistry of water, liquids and gases
  • atomic and molecular physics
  • small clusters
  • research on substances of astrophysical, atmospheric and environmental relevance

College Cat reviews proposals related to structure, state, composition and reactions of substances, including chemical crystallography. Pathway and dynamics of chemical reactions as well as catalysis are a further focal point for this college. Proposals from the fields gas phases, liquids, solutions and small clusters will be discussed here too. Proposers aiming primarily at crystallographic or structural investigations are encouraged to consider college Mat (condensed matter).


  ElStr - Electronic Structure (not magnetism)            former College C4

Research fields/topics

  • solid state physics
  • thin films
  • mesoscopic objects (clusters, nanoparticles)

College ElStr reviews research projects dealing with the investigation of electronic structure of matter, primarily with spectroscopic methods. For projects with emphasis on magnetism college Inf (Information Imaging & Spectroscopy) is recommended.


  Ene - Energy, Fuels, Batteries            former College C3a

Research fields/topics

  • energy conversion (PV devices, TE devices, solar fuels)
  • energy storage (batteries, electrode materials, hydrogen storage)

College Ene reviews proposals related to fundamental and novel energy materials. This college focuses on materials research for a sustainable, economic and secure energy supply in the future. 


  Films - Surfaces, Interfaces and Thin Films            former College C3a

Research fields/topics

  • surfaces
  • interfaces
  • thin films

College Films reviews proposals related to surface chemistry, thin films and interfaces. The emphasis is on morphology, structure and (electronic) interactions in these systems.


  Inf - Information Imaging & Spectroscopy            former Colleges C5a and C5b

Research fields/topics

  • magnetic structure
  • electronic structure of magnetic materials
  • quantum magnetism
  • magnetic dynamics
  • spin dynamics
  • molecular nano-magnets
  • superconductivity

College Inf reviews research projects with emphasis on geometric and electronic structure of magnetic materials, magnetic effects and magneto-dynamics.


  Mat - Condensed Matter            former Colleges C1 and C6

Research fields/topics

  • nano-structured materials
  • engineering/industrial materials
  • residual stress/strain
  • novel materials
  • applied materials
  • coatings
  • mesoscopic structures
  • earth science related materials
  • crystallography
  • disordered matter, glasses
  • soft condensed matter
  • bio-inspired materials
  • biophysics
  • pharmacology/drug development
  • medicine/therapeutics
  • nutrition safety
  • zoology
  • palaeontology

College Mat reviews proposals related to fundamental materials science/novel materials as well as to materials of industrial or engineering relevance (no energy materials). Projects concerning geological questions or chemical structures/crystallography are be addressed in this college. Topics from micro-electronic relevance are discussed in this panel. College Mat also reviews proposals dealing with soft matter and bio-inspired materials. Topics include structure, dynamics and kinetics in the bulk and at interfaces. In addition it reviews radiobiology- and radiotherapy-related proposals. Projects concerned with biophysical questions or palaeontological samples are assessed in this college as well.


Beamtime Schedule

The large scale facility BESSY II is running 24h per day, 7 days per week. Breaks for maintenance are regularly scheduled.

The BESSY II User Shift schedule is as follows:

Sunday 19:00 to Tuesday 7:00

reserved for servicing and commissioning

(no beamtime available)

Tuesday 7:00 to Tuesday 19:00

Set-up of experiments

(limited availability, please clarify with the beamline scientist before the experiment)

Tuesday 19:00 to Sunday 19:00

User shifts

In the shift-based scheduling calendar, this general operation schedule will translate as follows. For the description of the operation mode please refer to this link.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Early (7-15) SD* Set-up / Comm User User User User User
Late (15-23) MC Comm / User User User User User MB ends 19:00/MC
Night (23-7) MC User User User User User MC

The latest shift-based schedule can be found in our online schedule. This schedule includes different operation modes and shutdown periods as well as the hall access on Mondays.

Beamtime Allocation

The general BESSY II Beamtime Allocation Schedules for both ID-Beamlines and Dipole Beamlines are shown here. Please note that, in general, the two beamlines located on one ID have to agree on the sharing of the available beamtime. For the description of the operation mode please refer to this link.