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
In May HZB and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) have signed a high-level scientific cooperation agreement. The objective is to establish a framework and terms of cooperation in the field of neutron scattering science, and define the mechanisms for collaboration on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. [...].
Scientists from Paris and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have been able to switch ferromagnetic domains on and off with low voltage in a structure made of two different ferroic materials. The switching works slightly above room temperature. Their results, which are published online in Scientific Reports, might inspire future applications in low-power spintronics, for instance for fast and efficient data storage. [...].
A team at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels has developed a new composite photocathode for generating hydrogen with high quantum efficiency using sunlight. This enables solar energy to be stored chemically. The photocathode consists of a thin film of chalcopyrite produced by HZB/PVcomB coated with a newly developed thin film of photoresistant titanium dioxide containing platinum nanoparticles. This layer does not only protect the chalcopyrite thin film from corrosion, it additionally acts as a catalyst to speed-up the formation of hydrogen as well as being a novel photodiode itself that even shows photoelectric current density and voltage comparable to those of a chalcopyrite-based thin film solar cell. [...].
Converting solar energy and storing it in form of solar fuels, is one of the great scientific and technological challenges today to enable the transition into a more sustainable future powered by renewable energies. Scientists at the HZB institute for Solar Fuels are exploring new semiconductor materials in order to develop compact, robust and economic solutions for “artificial photosynthesis”. They have submitted four research projects in collaboration with partners from universities for funding by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG) in the Priority Programme „Fuels Produced Regeneratively Through Light-Driven Water Splitting” (SPP 1613). All four projects have now been approved for funding. [...].
A research team at HZB has developed an inkjet printing technology to produce kesterite thin film absorbers (CZTSSe). Based on the inkjet-printed absorbers, solar cells with total area conversion efficiency of up to 6.4 % have been achieved. Although this is lower than the efficiency records for this material class, the inkjet printing minimizes waste and has huge advantages for industrial production. [...].
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