Welcome to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

At the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), we conduct research on complex systems of materials that contributes to dealing with challenges such as the energy transition. The HZB research portfolio includes solar cells, solar fuels, thermoelectrics, and materials for new, energy-efficient information technologies (spintronics) or electrochemical energy storage. Research on these energy materials is closely connected with the operation and advanced development of the BESSY II photon source. And our research approach always concentrates on thin-film technologies. Find out more at this About us.

News and Press Releases

  • <p>Water molecules are excited with X-ray light (blue). From the emitted light (purple) information on H-bonds can be obtained.</p>SCIENCE HIGHLIGHT      20.02.2019

    Water is more homogeneous than expected

    In order to explain the known anomalies in water, some researchers assume that water consists of a mixture of two phases even under ambient conditions. However, new X-ray spectroscopic analyses at BESSY II, ESRF and Swiss Light Source show that this is not the case. At room temperature and normal pressure, the water molecules form a fluctuating network with an average of 1.74 ± 2.1% donor and acceptor hydrogen bridge bonds per molecule each, allowing tetrahedral coordination between close neighbours. [...]

  • <p>More than 250 invited guests celebrated the tenth anniversary of HZB on 18 February at the TIPI at the Chancellery.</p>NEWS      18.02.2019

    10 Years of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin: A strong partner in the scientific landscape

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) is celebrating its tenth anniversary on 18 February 2019 with around 250 invited guests from science, politics and industry. The Centre is one of the world's top institutions and makes a decisive contribution to Berlin as a location for cutting-edge research. This was emphasized by Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin, in reference to the anniversary. [...]

  • <p>The cones represents the magnetization of the nanoparticles. In the absence of electric field (strain-free state) the size and separation between particles leads to a random orientation of their magnetization, known as superparamagnetism</p>SCIENCE HIGHLIGHT      14.02.2019

    Spintronics by “straintronics”: Superferromagnetism with electric-field induced strain

    Data storage in today’s magnetic media is very energy consuming. Combination of novel materials and the coupling between their properties could reduce the energy needed to control magnetic memories thus contributing to a smaller carbon footprint of the IT sector. Now an international team led by HZB has observed at the HZB lightsource BESSY II a new phenomenon in iron nanograins: whereas normally the magnetic moments of the iron grains are disordered with respect each other at room temperature, this can be changed by applying an electric field: This field induces locally a strain on the system leading to the formation of a so-called superferromagnetic ordered state. [...]

  • NEWS      11.02.2019

    HZB to participate in two Clusters of Excellence

    Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) are researching novel systems of materials that can convert or store energy. The HZB will now also be contributing this expertise to the "MATH+" and "UniSysCat" Excellence Clusters being coordinated by Berlin universities. Over the next three years, the Helmholtz Association will fund HZB's participation under the Helmholtz Excellence Network with a total of 1.8 million euros. [...]

  • <p>New solutions are available to integrate PV into the building skin. One beautiful example is the Copenhagen International School.</p>NEWS      04.02.2019

    Towards the Climate Neutral City: Independent consulting office for integrating photovoltaics into buildings

    The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is opening a national consulting office for integrating photovoltaics into buildings (BAIP) this spring. The consulting office will support building owners, architects, and municipal planners in activating building envelopes for power generation. The project is being funded by the Helmholtz Association over a period of four years as part of its knowledge transfer programme.


  • <p>An extremely thin layer between CIGSe and Perovskite improves the efficiency of the tandemcell.</p>SCIENCE HIGHLIGHT      31.01.2019

    Ultra-thin and extremely efficient: Thin-film tandem cells made of perovskite and CIGSe semiconductors

    An HZB team has fabricated and characterised a thin-film tandem solar cell made of perovskite and CIGSe. They relied on a simple, robust fabrication process that is also suitable for scaling up to large surface areas. The tandem solar cell is a fully thin film device with an impressive efficiency of 21.6 %. With further improvements it might reach efficiencies above 30 %. [...]

  • <p>Neutrons (red arrows) detect the presence of Lithium ions which have migrated into the silicon anode.</p>SCIENCE HIGHLIGHT      28.01.2019

    Batteries with silicon anodes: Neutron experiments show how formation of surface structures reduces amp-hour capacity

    In theory, silicon anodes could store ten times more lithium ions than graphite anodes, which have been used in commercial lithium batteries for many years. However, the amp-hour capacity of silicon anodes so far has been declining sharply with each additional charge-discharge cycle. Now an HZB team at BER II of the HZB in Berlin and the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble has utilised neutron experiments to establish what happens at the surface of the silicon anode during charging and what processes reduce this capacity. [...]

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