EMIL, a new 2000-square-metre laboratory complex, has opened for research into new energy materials
After three years of construction, the Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory (EMIL) is now open. The new laboratory complex for researching energy materials, annexed to BESSY II in Berlin-Adlershof, was ceremonially inaugurated with the involvement of the Federal Minister of Research, Johanna Wanka, on October 31, 2016. At the new laboratory, which offers direct access to the brilliant light of the electron storage ring BESSY II, researchers are looking to synthesise and analyse materials for future renewable energy generation. Around 20 million euros were invested in the construction of the laboratory.
“This combination of excellent energy research with the operation of unique infrastructures creates a research environment with special synergistic effects, and lays the foundation for new and successful products,” the Federal Minister of Research said at the inauguration.
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) established EMIL as a joint project. At the research laboratory CAT, the Fritz Haber Institute of MPG and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion will be researching into catalytic processes. In the laboratory section SISSY, HZB will study new thin-film materials for solar cells, solar fuels and thermoelectricity, as well as materials for energy-efficient information technologies.
What is special about the laboratory complex EMIL: Material systems can be analysed in-situ and in-operando using the synchrotron radiation from BESSY II over a wide spectrum of photon energies, ranging from soft to hard X-rays. Researchers can study processes and phenomena either at the sample surface (using soft X-rays) or within deeper layers inside the material (using hard X-rays).
Combined with a multitude of the latest generation analytical methods, researchers gain indispensable knowledge about the properties and processes occurring in new energy materials. These results will help in the targeted design of such materials, and aide in their further development up to application maturity. Partners from industry can also use the laboratory to access characterisation methods that are in some cases unique in the world, and will receive comprehensive support from the HZB experts on site.
Materials researchers benefit in particular from the synthetic capabilities offered at the laboratory. There are 20 different deposition methods available for producing energy materials. Immediately after synthesis, the materials are automatically transferred directly to the analytical station and back again – all in an ultra-high vacuum. Material systems can thus be produced and characterised layer by layer.
"With EMIL, we can now expand our expertise in combinatorial material synthesis and combine the synthesis and analysis of energy materials even better," emphasises Prof. Dr. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, scientific director of HZB. She stresses the importance of EMIL as part of the HZB Strategy 2020+: "The newly built EMIL complex reflects what HZB stands for: we combine our research into energy materials with the methods that the synchrotron source BESSY II offers us."
Prof. Robert Schlögl, director at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, asserts "EMIL is an important milestone on the path towards understanding electrode materials in water electrolysis."
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