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HZDR Awards

Verleihung der HZDR-Preise 2015 am 17. März 2016
This year’s winners are pleased to accept their awards (from left to right): Timo Kirschke, Dr. Martin Seilmayer, Dr. Michael Kuntzsch, René Gebhardt, Dr. Tobias Vogt, Dr. Sergey Kovalev, Dr. Josefine Metzkes, Dr. Michael Gensch, Dr. Stefanie Koristka, Bertram Green, Dr. Thomas Sebastian, Andreas Henschke and Dr. Helmut Schultheiß.
Photo: HZDR/André Forner

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf annually bestows the following awards:

  • HZDR Research Award
  • HZDR Technology and Innovation Award
  • HZDR Ph.D. Award

The HZDR Prize for Scientific Communication was, in an exceptional case, not awarded for 2015.

The 2015 HZDR Awards ceremony

The HZDR Board of Directors, Prof. Roland Sauerbrey and Prof. Peter Joehnk, together with Prof. Sibylle Günter, Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), presented the 2015 awards on March 17, 2016.

Impressions from the event

Research Award 2015

...awarded to Dr. Helmut Schultheiß, Andreas Henschke, Dr. Thomas Sebastian and Kai Wagner (Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research)

...for generating and detecting reconfigurable spin wave channels 

The 2015 research prize is awarded for work undertaken in the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, led by physicist Dr. Helmut Schultheiß. Together with his colleagues, Kai Wagner, Andreas Henschke and Dr. Thomas Sebastian, Schultheiß has managed to force spin waves into magnetic “channels”. This allows them to easily and selectively control propagation of these information carriers on the nano-level. The research group has thus laid the foundation for nano-circuits that are no longer based on the electrons’ charge but on spin waves.

The term “spin” designates the electrons’ angular momentum around their own axes. The electrical particles thus behave like extremely small magnets. They align themselves in a parallel manner in ferromagnetic materials. If the spin is guided in a different direction, this influences the adjacent spins. This produces a spin wave that propagates through the solid body.

Technology and Innovation Award 2015

...awarded to René Gebhardt, Dr. Michael Gensch, Bertram Green, Dr. Axel Jochmann, Timo Kirschke, Dr. Sergey Kovalev, Dr. Michael Kuntzsch, Andreas Schwarz (Institute of Radiation Physics)

...for synchronization and timing at the ELBE Radiation Source for studying dynamic processes with IR and THz radiation as well as for synchronization of electron pulses with high-performance laser pulses in producing X-rays through Thomson scattering

The Technology and Innovation Award went to a team of physicists, engineers and technicians at the HZDR’s Institute of Radiation Physics. The team was involved in improving electron pulse synchronization at the ELBE accelerator located in the HZDR’s Center for High-Power Radiation Sources. This improvement allows them to harness the highly precise timing for investigating dynamic processes as well as for producing X-rays. Dr. Michael Kuntzsch and Andreas Schwarz developed and implemented a system where the electron pulse arrival time could be measured with the precision of a few femtoseconds. This arrival time-monitor measures the fluctuations in the arrival time of the electron pulses and provides this information for subsequent experiments.

The X-ray source Phoenix was the first to benefit from the improved synchronization. Dr. Axel Jochmann and René Gebhardt could successfully produce “monochromatic” X-rays by shooting the light pulses from the high-intensity laser DRACO at the electron pulses from the ELBE accelerator in a special chamber. Timo Kirschke provided support in handling signal processing and distribution.

Dr. Michael Gensch’s Terahertz Group requires an even more precise timing for their pump-probe experiments. The principle: while the first THz light pulse excites the investigated sample, a second light pulse detects the dynamic changes in the sample. If the time in between is varied, snapshots can be taken at different intervals and a film with few femtosecond time resolution is created. Since the THz light pulses at ELBE are created with very high repetition rates of up to 13,000,000 pulses per second a timing monitor needs to be precise on femtosecond timescales and has to operate at such high repetition rates.

Dr. Sergey Kovalev and Dr. Gensch developed a dedicated monitoring system (ENOM = Experiment-Near Online-Monitor) for their terahertz facility. A new software created by their colleague Bertram Green furthermore allows online correction of the data in pump-probe experiments. As each individual pulse is virtually provided with a timestamp, Green is able to subsequently correct the measured data. The team thus succeeded in performing experiments at unseen high repetition rates and with a unique timing precision.

Ph. D. Award 2015

...awarded to Dr. Stefanie Koristka (Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research)

...for developing new strategies for antigen-dependent activation of human regulatory T cells with polyclonal receptor specificity

Author of the strongest dissertation in the last year is Dr. Stefanie Koristka from the Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research. Her dissertation is titled “Developing New Methods for Antigen-Specific Activation of Human Regulatory T cells”. She has sixteen published articles under her belt, four of them as first author. At the time of completing her doctoral work, she had collected an astounding eighty impact factor points.

Regulatory T cells, known as “Tregs”, play an important role in the disease process. After an illness, they can suppress the production of T cells, which serve as the body’s immune defense. In healthy individuals, they also serve to prevent autoimmune diseases. Stefanie Koristka equipped Tregs with special properties in her doctoral studies and has thus laid a critical foundation for novel immunotherapy. Her work can be used in the future to help in healing autoimmune and cancer-related illnesses or in preventing rejection of transplanted organs.

Ph. D. Recognition Awards 2015

...awarded to Dr. Josefine Metzkes (Institute of Radiation Physics)

Josefine Metzkes studied laser particle acceleration for her doctoral work. She examined the temporal profile of high-intensity laser pulses. When, for example, the pulses hit a thin foil, a plasma made of ionized material is created and particles are accelerated. In her study, she discovered that channels can form in the plasma, limiting the acceleration process. Her aim was then to investigate and understand the formation of plasma channels so that they can be suppressed in the future.

...awarded to Dr. Martin Seilmayer (Institute of Fluid Dynamics)

Many people are not aware of the important role magnetic fields play in the cosmos. These fields are partially responsible for the formation of stars and planets or for how black holes acquire their mass. Martin Seilmayer brought cosmic magnetic phenomena to the laboratory, where he and his colleagues from the Institute of Fluid Dynamics could study them with precision. He succeeded in doing so for the Tayler instability, which, for example explains the transport of angular momentum in emerging neutron stars. He is also interested in what is known as the azimuthal magneto-rotational instability. This triggers a turbulent flow on an accretion disc – our galaxy, the Milky Way, is such a disk. This turbulence in turn affects angular momentum transport and leads to the accumulation of mass.

...awarded to Dr. Tobias Vogt (Institute of Fluid Dynamics)

Tobias Vogt is also interested in the effect of magnetic fields on flows; his focus, however, lies in liquid metals. In his doctoral work, he studied circular flows such as inertial waves. These occur, for example, in the oceans. Furthermore, Tobias Vogt used vortices, similar to tornadoes, to evenly distribute nanoparticles in molten steel. This technology could be applied to highly robust ODS steel. He had even addressed a third topic for his doctoral work: mixing during steel recycling. Here he was able to intensify the mixing processes in metallurgy.