Welcome to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

At the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), we conduct research on complex systems of materials that contributes to dealing with challenges such as the energy transition. The HZB research portfolio includes solar cells, solar fuels, thermoelectric, and the materials with which you can construct new, energy-efficient information technologies such as spintronics. Research on these energy materials is closely connected with the operation and advanced development of the BESSY II photon source. And our research approach always concentrates on thin-film technologies. Find out more at this overview of HZB.

News and Press Releases

  • 02.12.2016

    First Thermoelectrics Colloquium at HZB brought many experts together


  • <p>Diatomic nickel ions (gray) are captured at cryogenic temperatures in an RF ion trap; cold helium gas (blue) serves to dissipate the heat. The magnetic field orients the ions. Credit: T. Lau/HZB</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>28.11.2016

    A new record at BESSY II: ten million ions in an ion trap cooled for the first time to 7.4 K

    Magnetic ground states spectroscopically ascertained

    An international team from Sweden, Japan, and Germany has set a new temperature record for what are known as quadrupole ion traps that capture electrically charged molecular ions. They succeeded in cooling about ten million ions down to 7.4 K (approx. -265.8 degrees Celsius) using a buffer gas. That is a new record. Previously it was only possible to cool down about one thousand ions to 7.5 K using buffer gas. However, a thousand ions are not nearly enough for spectroscopic analyses. The ion trap with this new method provides a new opportunity to use cryogenic X-ray spectroscopy to study the magnetism and ground states of molecular ions. This is the foundation needed to develop new materials for energy-efficient information technologies. The work has been published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.


  • <p>Spin, an intrinsic property of electrons, is related to the dynamics of electrons excited as a result of singlet fission &ndash; a process which could be used to extract energy in future solar cell technologies. Image: Leah Weiss, Cambrigde.</p>25.11.2016

    More energy from the sun - Researchers road-test powerful method for studying singlet fission

    Singlet fission could have a central role in the future development of solar cells.

    Physicists from HZB, Freie Universität Berlin and University of Cambrigde have successfully employed a powerful technique for studying electrons generated through singlet fission, a process which it is believed will be key to more efficient solar energy production in years to come. Their approach, reported in the journal Nature Physics, employed lasers, microwave radiation and magnetic fields to analyse the spin of excitons, which are energetically excited particles formed in molecular systems. Their experiments have been performed at the Joint EPR Lab, which is jointly funded by HZB and FU Berlin. Their results are published in Nature Physics. [...].

  • <p>Martina Schmid was awarded for her brillant presentation at PVSEC-26 in Singapore.</p>23.11.2016

    Talk given by Martina Schmid at PVSEC-26 lauded

    PVSEC-26, one of the  largest international conferences in the field of photovoltaics, took place in Singapore at the end of October. Prof. Martina Schmid received a “Best Oral Presentation Award” for her talk in the field of New Materials and Concepts. [...].

  • <p>The new Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory (EMIL) offers direct access to hard and soft synchrotron x-ray radiation to investigate the chemical and electronic properties of catalysts and other energy materials. Credit: HZB<br /></p>21.11.2016

    Research for Germany’s energy transition: EMIL@BESSY II approved for the Kopernikus “Power-to-X” project

    The storage of excess solar and wind power is one of the greatest challenges in Germany’s energy transition. To address this, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has created the “Power-to-X” (P2X) project under its Kopernikus programme. P2X will advance research into converting electrical energy from the sun and wind into basic chemical compounds, gaseous energy media, and fuels. A total of 17 research institutions, 26 industrial enterprises, as well as three non-governmental organisations are involved, and the BMBF is funding the first development phase of the project at a level of 30 million Euros. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin will participate in the planned research, using the advanced synthesis capabilities and the BESSY II synchrotron-based X-ray characterization tools at the recently inaugurated EMIL@BESSY II laboratory complex. [...].

  • 14.11.2016

    Speeding up CIGS solar cell manufacture

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