Notice

This multimedia story format uses video and audio footage. Please make sure your speakers are turned on.

Use the mouse wheel or the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate between pages.

Swipe to navigate between pages.

Let's go

The great test

Logo http://hzb.pageflow.io/hzbengl

The exit from nuclear and fossil-fuel energy is one of the greatest challenges in human history. In order to provide safe, affordable and clean energy, science and industry need to work together.

Goto first page

We at HZB take on this challenge: We develop new materials that are able to convert or store energy or that enable efficient switching processes for information technologies. We call them energy materials.

Examples are new solar cells, but also systems that function like an artificial leaf generating hydrogen with the help of sunlight.

Goto first page

Thin-film systems are especially promising.

They are produced by consecutively applying several thin layers of different materials onto a substrate. This method of stacking allows different material properties to be combined and new, very efficient materials are created.

Goto first page

It is like cooking: a hamburger consists of different (more or less) thin layers.

By changing only one ingredient – if you use mustard instead of ketchup, for example – the entire burger tastes different.

Goto first page

At HZB, one of our many projects is the research on tandem solar cells made of silicon and perovskite layers. 

Each layer uses a different „colour“ from the solar spectrum. Consequently, together, these tandem cells capture a lot more sunlight and are thus considerably more efficient than pure silicon solar cells.

Goto first page

But producing these extremely thin layers is difficult. Even during the early stages of material synthesis a lot can go wrong.  

As these thin-films consist of only a few atomic layers, they can show completely different properties from a whole crystal. This happens, because these extremely thin layers are practically nothing but surface. And surfaces often show effects with undesirable consequences, for example electrical losses.

Goto first page

The aim of the scientists and engineers at HZB is to understand those positive and negative effects in complex thin-film systems on an atomic level.  

Our synchrotron light source BESSY II provides exactly the right tool kit. It produces a special X-ray light with wavelengths perfectly suited for studying thin-films.

In addition, scientists have unique opportunities to analyse new materials in their earliest production stage at state-of-the-art central laboratories, our CoreLabs.

Goto first page
Close
Start 360° panorama

Start 360° panorama

From material kitchen to top-flight microscopes – all our research infrastructure serves one purpose: to develop new materials and components and to optimize them systematically every step of the way.

This unique systematic approach distinguishes the HZB.



Goto first page
Scroll up
Scroll left
Scroll right
Scroll down
Goto first page

„There is not the one universal method that leads to success – this applies especially to materials science. The good thing here at HZB is that we combine a number of analytic processes and thus get so much more information out of each and every single material sample.“

Goto first page

„The synthesis of thin-film systems is a very delicate affair. Even the smallest change in material structure often has major functional consequences. So, we need to examine the synthesis process continuously and if possible immediately – ideally while the layers are still growing. And that is exactly what we can do in our energy research laboratory EMIL. At EMIL, synthesis and analytics intertwine – a unique process worldwide, and it can be found here.“

Goto first page

Until now, only a small amount of sunlight is converted into electricity in a solar cell. A better regulation of light incidence can optimize the process. In my simulations I’m testing a lot of metal oxide nano structures, in order to determine optimal geometry. Only the best structures from the simulations will ever make it to the lab. This speeds up my research a lot."

Goto first page

"I’m a theorist and what I like best is working out answers to burning questions for my colleagues in experimental research. With the help of mathematical models we often succeed in bringing hidden correlations to light. We also manage to show which parameters are crucial for defining characteristics of new material systems.“

Goto first page

"The Competence Centre for Photovoltaics houses its own production line for silicon heterojunction cells and chalcopyrite modules. The industry welcomes us with open arms.
Because, what’s the use of all the great new developments if they only perform well within the laboratory, but not on an industrial scale. At PVcomB we can test this together.“

Goto first page

„Since sunlight is not always available, we want to store its energy in the form of hydrogen. To achieve this, we need materials that are neither expensive nor scarce. Metal oxides fulfill these criteria and we’re working hard on increasing the efficiency of these material systems. Synthesis and analytics are linked closely at our institute."

Goto first page
Goto first page

Energy Research at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin

0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
Scroll down to continue
Swipe to continue