Welcome to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

At the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) we explore materials and complex material systems that help to face current and future challenges, such as the energy transition - “Energiewende”. One of the HZB’s research emphases is on materials for thin-film photovoltaics and for the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy carriers (e.g. molecular hydrogen).

To be able to study material structures and processes in detail, the HZB operates two separate large-scale research facilities – the neutron source BER II and the synchrotron radiation source BESSY II – used by some 3,000 guest scientists from all around the World every year. At both facilities, HZB teams have developed in some cases unparalleled instruments and are continuing to work on increasing their measurement precision to allow for new insights to be gleaned.

The HZB is a member of the Helmholtz Association and co-founder of the Competence Centre for Thin-Film and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB), whose mission it is to promote the technology transfer to industry.

News and Press Releases

  • 27.06.2016

    Data policy finalized for research data at HZB

    Researchers retain exclusive access to their data for five years
    The instruments at the large facilities of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin produce large quantities of raw data. These data must be stored long-term and should also be openly accessible. The rules for handling such data at HZB are now defined in its data policy. The management finalized the policy on 14 June 2016. It stipulates that, as a rule, raw data should become openly accessible after five years. [...].

  • <p>The illustration shows how iodine (purple) is embedded between the organic layer and the metal, thus reducing adhesion. Credit: IFM, University of Link&ouml;ping</p>22.06.2016

    User Community Science: Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal

    An international team has discovered an elegant way to decouple organic nanosheets grown on metal surfaces. After iodine intercalation, measurements at the synchrotron source BESSY II of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) showed that a network of organic molecules behaved almost as it was free-standing. The strong influence of the metal on the network was reduced. This opens up new ways to transfer organic nanostructures from metal surfaces onto more suitable substrates for molecular electronics.  The results have been published in “Angewandte Chemie”. [...].

  • <p>BFO has a perovskite crystal structure.Credit: University of Tokyo</p>22.06.2016

    New effect on laser induced switching for higher data densities

    An international collaboration has now demonstrated a completely new approach to increase data density in storage media. They used ultra-short laser pulses to trigger a phase transition in the ferromagnetic material BaFeO3 (BFO). Experiments at the Femtospex facility at BESSY II of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin showed that by inducing this phase transition, magnetic domains can be easily manipulated. These magnetic domains are otherwise very stable and therefore suited for long-time data storage. The results have been published in Phys. Rev. Letters now. [...].

  • <p>Scanning electron microscopy in combination with EELS electron spectroscopy permits to visualise atomic positions of the individual atoms in the heterostructure: Superconducting regions of YBaCuO are identified by yttrium (blue) and copper (pink), the ferromagnetic layers by manganese (green) and lanthanum (red). Courtesy MPI Stuttgart.</p>21.06.2016

    Coexistence of superconductivity and charge density waves observed

    Physicists at BESSY II of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) studied an artificial structure composed of alternating layers of ferromagnetic and superconducting materials. Charge density waves induced by the interfaces were found to extend deeply into the superconducting regions, indicating new ways to manipulate superconductivity. The results are now being published in Nature Materials. [...].

  • <p>The model illustrates how the gold atoms sit under the graphene. Credit: HZB<br /><br /></p>16.06.2016

    Progress in the application of spin effects in graphene: from the metal to the semiconductor world

    Graphene on silicon carbide could be an interesting candidate for future spintronik components. Squeezing gold atoms between the semiconducting substrate and graphene does enhance spin-orbit interaction at hot spots and shows ways to controll the spins. First results at BESSY II are now published in Applied Physics Letters. [...].

  • 14.06.2016

    Spintronics: Resetting the future of Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording

  • 02.06.2016

    Neuer „lichtblick“ erschienen

    (german)
  • 02.06.2016

    User research at BESSY II: nanostructures in human teeth


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