ZEISS and the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin establish partnership

Photo: HZB/M. Setzpfandt

Photo: HZB/M. Setzpfandt

Photo: HZB/M. Setzpfandt

Nanotechnology in support of leading research on renewable energy

To conduct cutting-edge research on novel materials with the most modern ZEISS electron microscopes available – that is the mission of the ZEISS labs@location at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB). The laboratories that have been set up for the Institute of Nano-Architectures for Energy Conversion, headed by Prof. Silke Christiansen, were officially opened on Monday, November 16, 2014.

HZB's reputation for excellence in industry and science led to its inclusion[Anm. des Übers.: besser: “led to its being invited to join the ZEISS”, wenn das stimmt] in the ZEISS labs@location programme. Outstanding knowledge and experience in implementing advanced microscope technologies and applications are important elements for the expansion of this scientific network.

Christiansen emphasises that: “This collaboration goes well beyond the usual extent of work with industry. The partnership with ZEISS is really a source of inspiration for me. There are almost daily enquiries leading to scientific exchanges often extending to longer-term funded collaborations.”

Dr. Markus Weber, head of the ZEISS Microscopy division, spoke during the dedication of the ZEISS labs@location at HZB about the importance of the scientific community for ZEISS. Its intention is to bring together the world’s leading scientists and researchers – so that they learn from one another, exchange scientific knowledge, and mutually inspire one another to new achievements. “Our dedicated involvement with our clients makes ZEISS an integral part of the global research community”, according to Weber.

Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Scientific Director of HZB, outlined the benefits for HZB: “This collaboration fits perfectly with HZB’s strategy of setting up core labs for our research on energy materials using state-of-the-art and sometimes even unique equipment. The core labs complement and enhance our scientific capabilities focussed on several areas of energy research. In addition, they will be attractive infrastructures available to external users as well and will stimulate further strategic partnerships.”

The Helmholtz Zentrum in Berlin Wannsee is equipped with the newest scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and ion microscopy systems. The ZEISS Crossbeam 340 focussed ion beam (FIB) SEM, ZEISS MERLIN field emission (FE) SEM, and ZEISS ORION NanoFab ensure that the team headed by Christiansen can prepare and image materials at nanoscales using the most advanced technology. The researchers have already been able to demonstrate that a nano-scale modification to the silicon surface of a thin-film solar cell increased its light absorption by two-thirds. This enabled the efficiency of the solar cell to be raised considerably.

The cooperation of ZEISS and HZB includes joint workshops and training programmes as well as demonstrations of the equipment and scientific exchanges. Scientific collaborations can count on joint consulting from experts at HZB and specialists from ZEISS for specific applications and system configurations. Research partners will obtain additional perspective on their research from this close cooperation, while HZB and ZEISS R&D efforts stand to benefit as well.

ZEISS labs@location is a community of ZEISS users that make available profound knowledge and specialised services. ZEISS labs@location partners are members of leading research institutions and have acquired outstanding reputations for implementing specialised microscopy technologies and applications. In this role, they supplement the Microscopy Labs at ZEISS’ global production and marketing sites of its Microscopy division.