Lively exchange at User Meeting

Markus Ries (left) and Alex Manuel Frano Pereira (right) were awarded by Prof. Mathias Richter of "HZB Circle of Friends" the Ernst-Eckhard Koch-Prize for their outstanding PhD-projects. Credit: M. Setzpfand/HZB

The OMNY Team at PSI/Swiss Light Source received the Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation 2014. Credit: M. Setzpfand/HZB

Berliner Buffet on Thursday Evening. Credit: M. Setzpfand/HZB

From December 3 to 5, more than 500 users of HZB's BER II and BESSY II large-scale equipment met up to discuss the current state of technology and exchange their views on pressing scientific issues.

The Science Day on December 4 was held at the Bunsensaal in Berlin-Adlershof and featured the many scientific achievements that have been made thanks to BESSY II and BER II. The “neutron Day” on December 3 was held at Wannsee and the Sychrotron day on December 5 at Adlershof, both days were focused on instrumentation.

Exciting research: Molecular Lego, Cancer therapy and Solar Energy

Christof Wöll of KIT demonstrated in his keynote lecture how large organic molecules can be arranged to crystalline structures, doped and organized to new designer materials with amazing properties. Dentistry research was the topic of Paul Zaslansky of Charité Berlin, who studied the effects of root canal treatment at the BAM Beamline at BESSY II. He stressed the need of being able to publish negative results as well as positive ones, in order to develop a more evidence based medicine. 
Pål Stenmark, Stockholm University, spoke about a new way of treating cancer, which is explored by a team on five Swedish universities. The concept is based on inhibiting a specific enzyme called MTH1, which cancer cells, unlike normal cells, require for survival. Without this enzyme, oxidized nucleotides are incorporated into DNA, resulting in lethal DNA double-strand breaks in cancer cells. The research group at Stockholm University has determined the structure of human MTH1 in complex with several key inhibitors. The detailed studies of how different molecules bind MTH1 has been essential to guide the development of efficient inhibitors and will now be used to develop these inhibitors into drugs.
The public lecture titled by Christoph Lienau, University Oldenburg, gave a glimpse into the future of organic solar cell research: short movies visualized simulations of charge transfer processes along the organic molecules. But to study such dynamic processes experimentally, much shorter light pulses would be needed, he pointed out.

With great interest the presentations in the Young Scientist Sessions at the Neutron and Synchrotron Day were received. Altogether 11 young researchers presented their research in very committed presentations.

Science Day awards

The Association of Friends of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin awarded on 4 December 2014 the 24th Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize for outstanding doctoral theses in the field of research with synchrotron radiation. Two junior scientists were recognised this year.

Alex Manuel Frano Pereira, who has since become a postdoc at the University of California Berkeley, was honoured for his doctoral dissertation entitled “Ordering Phenomena in Transition Metal-Oxide Heterostructures” at Technische Universität Berlin (TU) that dealt with spin and charge density waves in oxides. The results are very topical for the field and are being discussed as exemplary and state-of-the-art in the literature. Dr. Frano Pereira himself has been very productive in these discussions and has published in Nature, Science and Physical Review Letters. The works have been cited more than 450 times.

Accelerator physicist Dr. Markus Ries received the award for his work on “Nonlinear Momentum Compaction and Coherent Synchrotron Radiation at the Metrology Light Source” at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The awards committee judged that he made a key contribution to understanding and further development of the operation of storage rings with short variable electron bunches. His work is being incorporated into HZB’s BESSY-VSR project for which Dr. Ries is continuing his research as a postdoc.

The fourteenth Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation has been given for an achievement significantly contributing to the advancement of techniques, methods, or use of synchrotron radiation in Europe. The Association of Friends of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin made the award this year to Mirko Holler, Ana Diaz, Manuel Guizar-Sicairos, and Jörg Raabe of the OMNY team from PSI at the Swiss Light Source. They set new standards for high-resolution 3D X-ray microscopy with their work on methodological development of what is known as ptychography in the area of coherent diffraction imaging. The Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation is sponsored by SPECS GmbH and BESTEC GmbH. The laudatory speech during the awards ceremony was delivered by Prof. Stefan Eisebitt from TU Berlin.

The HZB User Committee's Best Poster Award went to Lucas Gierster for his presentation on Laser induced switching in TbFeCo and GdFeCo thin films.

184 posters, 49 vendors

During the poster session in BESSY experimental hall, a total of 184 posters documented the work done by both HZB and external researchers using the HZB research facilities, with topics ranging from the life sciences and basic physics research to applied research on industrial materials. In addition, the user meeting was accompanied by two satellite symposia with almost 200 participants; one was on Fragment Screening by Crystallography, the other one was the first in a series of foresight workshops, this time with the topic Tender X-Rays

As in previous years, the user meeting featured a well-attended industry exhibit with 49 vendors of synchrotron spectroscopy and neutron diffraction experimental equipment showcasing a broad range of state-of-the-art products. Thanks to the vendors' generous financial support, the lavish "Berlin Buffet" on Thursday night, which offered yet another chance for conversation and networking, attracted many visitors. The organizers would like to thank Adlerhof con.vent, WISTA Management GmbH's event planners.