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Programme details

Tour through the accelerator BESSY II (in German)

A particle accelerator as light source for research

Did you know that a modern particle accelerator is located in Berlin? It is BESSY II, a ring with a circumference of 240 meters, which is located on the Adlershof campus and is operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Almost light-fast electron bunches circle the ring and generate extremely intense X-ray light. In this film, HZB expert Ingo Müller takes you inside the ring. He shows where the electrons are generated and accelerated, how they can be directed and focused and, of course: what all the effort is for. After all, the special light from BESSY II can be used to investigate a wide variety of issues: from research in connection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to material analyses, for example of solar cells, and the development of new optics for a space telescope that is to search for black holes. With descriptive experiments, physicists show what vacuum means, why they like to work with particularly short flashes of light or how they generate the extreme cold that is necessary for many experiments.

In the film you can see some areas of BESSY II that are normally not accessible. Nevertheless, we will be happy to open our doors again after Corona for visitors of the Long Night of Science. Then you are welcome to see for yourself what BESSY II can do.

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Ingo Müller

Ingo Müller,
Operations Manager at BESSY II

The computer scientist Ingo Müller has been working at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (then BESSY GmbH) since 1994. During the start-up phase of BESSY II he developed software and hardware for various components and their control. Then he also took over tasks in the organization of shift work and on-call duty for accelerator operation. Since 2015, he has been head of the Operations Group and is responsible for the smooth operation of the accelerator.

Talk: From protein to medecine (in English)

Proteins are the building blocks of life

Whether in humans, animals, plants, bacteria or viruses - every cell needs many different proteins to function. These are huge molecules with a complex three-dimensional structure characterized by cavities, loops and branches. Some proteins cause damage in the organism, so it would be good to block them. This can be achieved by active ingredients, chemical compounds that fit "like a key in a lock" into certain regions of the protein.

Manfred Weiss

Manfred Weiss, group leader of the joint research group macromolecular crystallography (HZB).

Discovering the protein crystallography at BESSY II

In the search for active ingredients, it is extremely helpful to know the structure of the protein. To do this, the experts first grow crystals of protein molecules and then screen them with extremely intense X-ray light.

At BESSY II, this X-ray light is available at three beamlines for protein crystallography. More than 3,000 structures of important proteins have already been decoded at BESSY II, including proteins that play a role in cancer, malaria or the multiplication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Dr. Manfred Weiss will give the talk and is happy to answer your questions afterwards. He leads the joint research group of macromolecular crystallography (HZB).

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Panel discussion: Research has delivered - What is slowing down the expansion of solar energy? (in English)

Thanks to new technologies from research, solar power does not cost more than coal-based electricity; but why is the expansion simply not getting off the ground?

Solar modules could also cover a considerable proportion of the energy requirements in cities - especially if the surfaces on the facades are also used in future. For this purpose, there are now a large number of aesthetically attractive facade solutions that also convert scattered light into electricity and are available in many colors and shapes. More and more solutions are emerging from research that enable even higher efficiencies and even lower module costs. The technologies are there and the kilowatt hour of solar power is no more expensive than coal-fired power. Yet the expansion is not getting off the ground. What is the reason for this?

Photovoltaics researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will meet with representatives from politics and industry in a panel discussion. They will discuss research successes, economic aspects, market strategies, political incentives, construction challenges and what is needed to ensure that more solar power soon finds its way into living rooms.


  • Samira Jama Aden (Architect at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin | PVcomB | BAIP)
  • Prof. Steve Albrecht (Head of the young investigator group Perowskite Tandem Solar Cells, HZB)
  • Dr. Simon Kirner (Manager Programs at Oxford PV)
  • Klaus Mindrup (MdB, SPD)

Host: Prof. Rutger Schlatmann (Director of the Competence Centre Photovoltaics Berlin, PVcomB / HZB)

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Samira Aden

Samira Jama Aden,
Architect at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin | PVcomB | BAIP

Samira Jama Aden studied architecture at the University of Kassel and developed multifunctional building materials. Subsequently, she did research on solar activation of building materials at the ARC Australia Center of Excellence in Exciton Science (Melbourne, Australia). Since 2019, she has been working at the Consulting office for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BAIP) at HZB, where she has been designing training courses for architects and planners and advising on the implementation of innovative solar solutions in architectural projects.

Steve Albrecht

Steve Albrecht,
Head of the young investigator group Perowskite Tandem Solar Cells (HZB)


Steve Albrecht studied physics at the University of Potsdam, where he received his doctorate on solar cells in 2015. Since then he has been doing research at HZB, where he heads his own research group on perovskite tandem solar cells. Albrecht holds two world records for the highest efficiencies of novel tandem solar cells. He has received several major awards for his research, including the Berlin Science Prize in 2019 and the Apple of Inspiration in 2018. Since 2018 he has been a junior professor at the TU Berlin.

Simon Kirner
Manager Programs, Oxford PV

Simon Kirner, has studied industrial engineering at the TU Berlin and earned his PhD degree at HZB in 2013, working on thin film solar cells. He continued doing research as a postdoc at HZB developing hetero contact solar cells and devices for solar fuel production.

Since 2016 he is working at Oxford PV as a senior device engineer and manager programs. Oxford PV is a leading company in perovskite solar technology.

Picture of Klaus Mindrup

Klaus Mindrup,
Member of the "Bundestag" (SPD)

Picture: © K. Mindrup/Thomas Imo

Klaus Mindrup, graduate biologist, SPD, member of the Bundestag since 2013, member of the Committee on Construction, Housing, Urban Development and Communities and the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Co-speaker of the climate protection support group of the SPD parliamentary group.

Until May 2014 he was deputy chairman of the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues e.V.. From 2009 to 2013 he was a member of the board of the German Wind Energy Association.

Rutger Schlatmann

Rutger Schlatmann,
Director of the Competence Centre Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB / HZB)

Rutger Schlatmann studied physics at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and completed his doctorate in 1995 at the AMOLF Institute in Amsterdam. He then went into industry as a researcher and set up a pilot line for the production of flexible thin-film solar cells. Since 2008, the photovoltaic expert has been head of the Competence Center Photovoltaics (PVcomB) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. He is also a professor at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences.