Three new experimental units for conducting materials research are being inaugurated today at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt. The units have been set up alongside the GSI's accelerator in a joint project by the GSI, the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy and the universities of Darmstadt, Dresden, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Jena and Stuttgart.
“This will allow us to conduct ion beam experiments for materials research at the Helmholtz Association in a single place that is ideally equipped for the task,” enthused the Helmholtz Association’s president Prof. Jürgen Mlynek. Until the end of 2006 the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy (formerly known as the Hahn-Meitner Institute) also operated an ion beam laboratory, whose experimental units have now been partially transferred to the GSI. The Berlin centre will now be focusing on neutron research and on the operation and development of the BESSY II synchrotron radiation facility.
The merger had been proposed by a committee of renowned international experts, whose recommendations the Helmholtz Association was quick to take up by arranging for the transfer of the units. The Initiative and Networking Fund made €704,000 available for the transfer.
The new units will allow scientists to build nanostructures and to study semiconductors and materials that can be used in the aerospace industry (e.g. satellite technology) or in the construction of the FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) accelerator. The units will allow the ion radiation produced by the linear particle accelerator to be fully exploited, as only part of the radiation generated will be needed for FAIR later.
“The fact that we have ensured important materials research projects access to the GSI’s heavy-ion accelerator for experiments,” says Mlynek, “proves once again that the Helmholtz Association is able to identify and utilise synergy effects in order to boost its performance and use resources in a highly efficient way. The evaluations conducted regularly as part of our programme-oriented approach to funding play an important part in this.”