HZB Guide for beamtime application

A clearly written proposal for an experiment at HZB can greatly increase the chances that the Scientific Selection Panel will recommend your application for beamtime allocation. In the following you will find hints and tips on writing the perfect proposal.

In general, one scientifc proposal might request the use of several facilities at HZB. Before you write your proposal, we advise you to contact HZB instrument scientists/station managers to talk about your experiments. They can help you to decide on the most suitable instruments, additional equipment and the amount of time you will need to complete your experiments. It might be helpful to include the instrument scientist/station manager as co-proposer (please discuss this in advance with the respective scientist). Thus they would be able to read the proposal online and check if the technical requirements of the experiments can be fulfilled before the final submission of your proposal. 

All proposals should be accompanied by reports on former HZB experiments.

Submitting proposals

Proposals must be submitted using the online proposal system GATE.

All intended co-proposers must be registered in GATE. A proposal can be entered over several sessions and you can save partially completed proposals. Editing your proposal is possible until the deadline for submissions.

New users must register their details in the online proposal system to receive an account before being able to submit a proposal. You can view and modify your personal details at any time. If you have any questions about the online proposal system, please contact the Beamtime Coordinators.

Proposal types

 External users (non-HZB affiliated users) may choose one of the following options:

  • Standard (default for new proposals)
  • CRG (for groups with an existing cooperation contract with HZB)
  • BAG (only MX)

 In case of questions please contact the Beamtime Coordinators.

Long term proposals (LTP)

For dedicated instruments it is possible to apply for beamtime over the period of two years (4 proposal rounds). The option is available in the technical part section of the proposal application.


Instruments/beamlines available for long term proposals


Information on LTP


  • Resubmission is possible only once and only for the half year directly after the first submission.
  • MX Proposals cannot be resubmitted.
  • Resubmission does not guarantee beamtime.
  • A resubmitted proposal will enter the competition for beamtime again while keeping its former rank.
  • You cannot change your proposal.
  • Resubmission is available in the ‘My proposal’ section of the GATE account.


Scientific part

The heart of your proposal is the science case. This must be written in English and must be no longer than two A4 pages. In the scientific part you should address the following topics:

  • Scientific context
    You should give a clear account of the aims of the experiment and set it within the broader scientific context. Keep in mind that not all review panel members are experts in the field. List the 5 most important publications in this field of science in order to show that you are aware of the work of others.
  • Choice of specific instrument/station
    Give reasons for your choice of instrument. Justify why you need to use this particular instrument and why HZB is important.
  • Preliminary work
    If possible, give results of preliminary work carried out (for example, NMR or light scattering experiments) in support of your proposed experiment and to demonstrate sample quality.

In a separate text field you will be asked later on to state the:

  • Necessity of neutrons/synchrotron radiation use
    Explain why neutrons or synchrotron radiation are needed.

Technical part

In the technical part you will need to define the experimental parameters of your proposed experiment. You should choose the appropriate instrument and the desired sample environment or experimental station. Please note that not all sample environment equipment or experimental stations are available for all instruments. It is advisable to check your requirements with the sample environment team or instrument scientists/station managers in advance. If you want to apply for more than one instrument you must submit a separate technical requirement for each instrument.

Bringing your own equipment
As well as complying with general safety rules of a large laboratory, potential users must ensure that the measuring equipment also fulfils certain requirements which partially depend on the beamline being used. Most importantly, measuring stations at BESSY II have to be operated under such conditions that an impairment of the beamline and storage ring vacuum is prevented. In general, this means the station itself runs under ultra high vacuum conditions.
If you intend to bring your own equipment to HZB, please contact the instrument scientist in advance.

Experimental plan

You must give a detailed description of the experiment, including sample and parameter changes. You should also justify the amount of beamtime you asked for in the technical part.

List the number of samples and sample environment conditions (for example, temperatures, pressures, magnetic fields...) and estimate the measuring time for each sample, or sample condition, to show how you calculated the overall beamtime requirements. For a complex series of experiments, please show a breakdown of how you arrived at your final beamtime request. Also include any time needed for equipment set-up and sample equilibration. Ask the sample environment group or the instrument scientist/station manager for help if needed.

Example: 2 samples at 3 pressures and 4 temperatures for 5 hours each = 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 120 hours of beamtime


Describe the samples you intend to measure and address any relevant safety issues.

Previous results

Supply a list of recent publications from work at HZB as well as Experimental Reports related to experiments which are connected to the new beamtime application. As well as giving supporting information for your proposal, a good track record of publications following HZB experiments can increase the chances of your proposal being accepted.

Please note: The Experimental Reports must be submitted via GATE before they can be attached to the beamtime application.

You will need a 24-hour team

If your proposal is successful, you will be responsible for arranging a competent research team to be at HZB on a 24-hour basis for the duration of your beamtime.

More information on the responsibilities of a main proposer


It is important that you give accurate information about the safety of the samples and the safety of the proposed experiment. Failure to give correct information could delay the start of your experiment.

For your information

The following information on successful proposals will appear on the HZB webpages:

  • proposal number
  • group affiliation
  • instrument
  • days allocated