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The route to BESSY III


Research for a climate-neutral society

The 21st century poses many challenges for scientists. Climate change mitigation in particular urgently requires a transition to a globally sustainable, resilient and climate-neutral society. Scientific and technological breakthroughs are key to improving energy efficiency, to ensuring a sustainable energy supply.

For more than 40 years, researchers from all over the world have been working with synchrotron light in Berlin, advancing topics such as energy, information and health. At BESSY II in Berlin-Adlershof, our internationally renowned light source, very brilliant X-ray radiation is generated for multifaceted research.

> Looking back at 40 years of science with synchrotron light in Berlin
> Learn more about the research highlights at BESSY II

Looking towards the future: the successor source

Many light source facilities around the world are currently being modernised or even newly built in order to keep up with the latest research questions and contribute to modern research infrastructures.

At HZB, we are also working at full speed on the design of a successor source of the 4th generation: BESSY III is scheduled to go into operation in the mid-2030s. Our goal is to offer unique opportunities for experiments worldwide that will accelerate the gain of knowledge in many fields of research. To achieve this, it is particularly important for us to work together with local partners. We see BESSY III as part of an integrated research campus where scientists have measuring facilities, laboratories and offices as well as conference rooms in the immediate vicinity.

Future light source BESSY III

This is how BESSY III could look like. (Images: HZB)

BESSY III - the discovery machine

The unique combination of

  •  an extremely brilliant source of soft X-rays
  • an integrated facility concept, embedded in the materials research campus of Berlin-Adlershof
  • and quantitative measurement capabilities, supported by the world-leading expertise of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung (BAM)

    will make BESSY III a leading facility for materials research with international visibility, used by universities and non-university research institutes as well as industry.

    BESSY III will become an indispensable discovery machine for materials and energy research. Quantum materials, catalysis and many other topics in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental research and metrology, as well as industry, will benefit from the brilliant X-ray light. For this research, Germany as a technology location will continue to need the best light in the future.

    Good to know: We will break new ground in sustainable construction, and provide for energy generation and recovery to optimise energy efficiency during operation.
Pre-CDR BESSY III - the materials discovery facility

Der Pre-Conceptual Design Report describes the scientific goals of the future light source.

Where do we stand today?

Since the beginning of 2020, a project team has been coordinating and organising the realisation of the Conceptual Design Report (CDR). Central topics are accelerator design, beamlines, experimental techniques and building design as well as new ways of digitisation, technology development and sustainability for BESSY III.

At the end of 2022, we submitted a Pre-Conceptual Design Report (Pre-CDR) to the Helmholtz Association. In this document, we recorded the needs of HZB research, strategic partners (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), die Max-PLanck-Gesellschaft (MPG) und die Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung (BAM)), the user community and other stakeholders, and we elaborated the unique selling points, core topics and the embedding in the Adlershof Science Campus and the Berlin research landscape.


Graphic Recording of the Catalysis Workshop in April 2020. - enlarged view

Graphic Recording of the Catalysis Workshop in April 2020.
Picture: Christine Oymann

User take an active part

Innovative technologies and new X-ray experiments need to be developed to answer tomorrow's questions. We have therefore invited our user community and strategic partners to participate in the development of scientific visions and experiments. Their vision of research needs has guided our planning. On-site or online, we have held workshops on topics such as energy materials, catalysis, imaging, metrology and time-resolved measurement (and many more).

> If you would like to stay in the loop, please register for our monthly newsletter: BESSY II News.

HZB and the Helmholtz-Association

A photon-strategy for Germany

Germany has several facilities that conduct research with photons, all within the Helmholtz Association. There are also PETRA III in Hamburg and ELBE in Dresden Rossendorf. In 2020, the 3 centres have jointly formulated a Photon Science Roadmap for Germany. The strategy is oriented towards the needs of science. The interplay of all the planned facilities will cover the entire light energy range required by science and thus guarantee to be able to meet all research questions and be internationally competitive.

Cover of the Photon Science Roadmap

Find here the strategy paper written by the three Helmholtz centres. (Easy readable PDF (in german) >)

The strategy paper was presented at the Helmholtz Digital Symposium "Research Infrastructures of the Future" on 28 June 2021 as part of the Helmholtz Roadmap.
> Article: Tailwind for top-research in Germany

In May 2022, the three research centres presented their joint strategy to members of the Bundestag on the premises of the German Parliamentary Society in Berlin.
> Article: Light for cutting-edge research from Germany: an exchange with German MPs

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