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01328 Dresden

Phone: +49 351 260 - 0

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P.O. Box 510119
01314 Dresden

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History of the Research Site Dresden-Rossendorf

Today’s Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf was founded as the Forschungszentrum Rossendorf in 1992. The research site actually looks back on more than 50 years of history.


ZfK Bild 1Permission was granted for the civil use of nuclear research in Germany by the Allied Control Council.

Treaty between the USSR and the GDR for the delivery of a 2 MW reactor and a 25 MeV cyclotron on April 18, 1955

Resolution of the GDR’s Council of Ministers on the peaceful use of nuclear power and the establishment of the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics (ZfK) Rossendorf on November 10, 1955

Approval of the development plan for the ZfK on December 30, 1955

ZfK Bau Ionenstrahlzentrum1956

January 1, 1956 marked the founding of the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics (ZfK) – renamed later: Central Institute for Nuclear Research – as the largest nuclear research institute in the GDR. Its provisional headquarters were located in Dresden.

Training and instruction of the operating teams for the reactor in Moscow and for the cyclotron in Leningrad until February 12, 1956

Start of construction at the research site Rossendorf in the spring of 1956

Export radioaktiver Präparate in den Sechziger Jahren1957 - 1962

Official inauguration of the Rossendorf Research Reactor (RFR) as the GDR’s first nuclear reactor with a thermal output of 2 MW on December 16, 1957

Completion of the cyclotron on August 1, 1958

Isotope production began with the delivery of the first radioactive compound ethyl bromide on November 6, 1958. The growing demand for radioactive isotopes called for subsequent increases in the RFR output.

Commissioning of the Rossendorf Ring Core Reactor (RRR) as a zero output reactor for basic research in reactor physics in 1962

1965 - 1969

ZfK Bild 3The output of the Rossendorf Ring Core Reactor was increased to 5 MW with roughened fuel rods on May 6, 1965

Additional increase of the output to 10 MW with innovative fuel rods on October 31, 1967

Construction of the “Rossendorf Assembly for Critical Experiments” (RAKE) as the second zero output reactor in 1969

1972 - 1991

ZfK Bild 2Completion of the tandem generator in 1972

1989 - 1991 Comprehensive reconstruction of the research reactor due to changed requirements, but no restart

All reactors were decommissioned in 1991, and the ZfK Rossendorf was shut down on December 31, 1991

A New Beginning:  FZR » FZD » HZDR

January 1, 1992

Luftbild des HZDRThe research center Forschungszentrum Rossendorf e. V. (FZR) and the VKTA – Nuclear Engineering and Analytics Inc. were founded at the research site. The VKTA is responsible for dismantling all existing nuclear facilities.

Since its founding, the FZR has been evaluated three times by the German Science Council, the advisory body of the federal government and the federal states – with success. The Science Council’s recommendations resulted in, for example, the installation of such new research infrastructures as the radiation source ELBE, the Center for Positron Emission Tomography (PET), the TOPFLOW facility, the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL at the ESRF in France as well as the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD). The existing Ion Beam Center was expanded considerably and modernized.

February 1993

The positron emission tomograph Positome lllp produced the first image at the FZR.

A 3 megavolt tandetron accelerator was put into operation at the Ion Beam Center.


PET imagingCommencement of the patient program at the PET Center (PET = Positron Emission Tomography) Rossendorf with a cyclotron (new circular accelerator as of 1996) to research and apply radioactive substances in medical diagnostics and therapy

1996 - 1997

ROBLConstruction of the Rossendorf Beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France

Official inauguration of the PET Center (1997)

1998 - 2000

Completion of the dismantling of the “Rossendorf Assembly for Critical Experiments” and the Ring Core Reactor (2000);
Decommissioning and demolition of the Uranium Lab (UT)

Official inauguration of the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL (1998)


Strahlungsquelle ELBE - aufgenommen von Juergen LoeselOfficial inauguration of the radiation source ELBE (electron linear accelerator for beams with high brilliance and low emittance)


pressure vessel of the TOPFLOW facilityCompletion of the thermohydraulic large-scale test facility TOPFLOW for the investigation of two-phase flows


Hochfeld-Magnetlabor: Haus 50 außenStart of construction of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory where the highest pulsed magnetic fields have been generated since 2007


The TOPFLOW facility was equipped with a pressure tank which permits experiments up to an operating pressure of five megapascals.

All irradiated fuel elements of the research reactors operated at the former Central Institute for Nuclear Research were transported in 18 Castor containers to the interim storage site Ahaus.

The TU Dresden [Dresden University of Technology], the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, and the research center Rossendorf established the jointly supported Center for Innovation Competence OncoRay; it focuses on radiation research in oncology.


Hochfeld-Magnetlabor Dresden: KondensatorbankFebruary: Official inauguration of the world’s largest capacitor bank at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Renewed support of the Ion Beam Center as a user lab through EU funds

November: The FZR was renamed FZD – Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf


ELBE staff member working on one of the two mirrors of the free-electron laser FELBE at HZDR.  May: Start of the user program at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory

In addition, the second free electron laser was put into operation at the radiation source ELBE along with the superconducting high frequency photo source and the neutron lab at ELBE.


Logo Helmholtz-GemeinschaftMay: Commissioning of a 150 TW high intensity laser

July: The Science Council recommended the FZD’s integration into the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. This was preceded by the FZD’s evaluation in November 2007.  (Prior evaluations: 1993, 2000/01)

The world’s fastest X-ray computer tomograph ROFEX was used for the first time ever at the TOPFLOW facility.


Stefan Bock am LaserJanuary: The first protons were accelerated at the high intensity laser “Draco.”

February: With 87.2 teslas, the highest magnetic field achieved so far was generated at the High Magnetic Field Laboratory – which also set a new European record.

March: The research center’s new entrance and logistics building was officially inaugurated.

June: Germany’s Federal Minister of Research, Prof. Annette Schavan, and Saxony’s Minister President Stanislaw Tillich signed a contract that paved the way for the FZD’s membership in the Helmholtz Association as of January 1, 2011.

October: The new continuous casting facility (LIMMCAST) for the simulation of steel casting processes was introduced for the first time ever at a conference in Dresden.

December: A new 6 megavolt ion accelerator was officially inaugurated at the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research.


PET MRTJanuary: The former Institute of Interdisciplinary Isotope Research in Leipzig was integrated into the FZD.

May: Work began at the radiation source ELBE to expand it into a center for high power radiation sources.

September: The first PET/MRI system approved for patients in Germany was installed in Rossendorf.

On September 21, 2010, Dresden’s OncoRay research center and its partner institute HIRO in Heidelberg joined forces to become the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology.

December: Together with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg [Freiberg University of Mining and Technology], the research center was granted permission to establish a national institute for resource technology in Freiberg.


Zur Gründungsveranstaltung des Helmholtz-Instituts Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie am 29. August 2011 auf dem Gelände des Lehr- und Forschungsbergwerks „Reiche Zeche“ überreichte Bundesforschungsministerin Prof. Annette Schavan einen symbolischen Schlüssel an Prof. Jens Gutzmer, Direktor des neuen Instituts. Rechts der sächsische Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tillich.January 1: The FZD joined the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres; since then, its name has been Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

June: World record – for the first time ever, a non-destructive magnetic field of 91.4 teslas was generated at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

July: Starting signal for the expansion of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory to twice its size.

August: The Federal Minister of Research, Prof. Schavan, founded the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) together with Saxony’s Minister President Tillich – a cooperation between the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the HZDR.

October: The School Lab DeltaX was officially inaugurated at the HZDR in the presence of the Helmholtz President, Prof. Jürgen Mlynek.

November: New or significantly improved research infrastructures were officially inaugurated at the Research Site Leipzig (a new cyclotron) and at the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL in Grenoble (major overhaul of the X-ray optics as well as modernization of the material-scientific and radiochemical experimental station).


GästehausJanuary: The Institute of Resource Ecology and the Institute of Fluid Dynamics were newly founded. The Institute of Radiochemistry and the Institute of Safety Research were closed.

The new Guest House opened its doors for visiting scientists at the three user facilities of the radiation source ELBE, the Ion Beam Center (IBC), and the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD).

May: Official topping off ceremony to commemorate the completion of the first construction phase – Dresden’s OncoRay - Center for Radiation Research in Oncology is building a facility for proton beam therapy on the premises of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden.

August: For the first time ever, the HZDR hosted an international Summer Student Program.

October: The research center was awarded the title “exemplary educational institution” for its 20 year commitment in vocational training.

December: The supercomputer Hypnos, one of the most powerful computers in Saxony, was put into operation at the modernized HZDR Computing Center.


Sachsens Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tillich ( weiht gemeinsam mit dem Wissenschaftlichen Direktor des HZDR, Prof. Roland Sauerbrey (re.), dem Leiter der ELBE, Dr. Peter Michel und dem Kaufmännischen Direktor des HZDR, Prof. Peter Joehnk die Terahertz-Anlage in der ELBE ein.January: On January 1, 2013, the new Institute of Radiooncology was founded at the HZDR.  Director of this institute is Dresden’s cancer researcher Prof. Michael Baumann who also heads the Clinic for Radiation Therapy and Radiooncology at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden and who acts as the spokesperson of Dresden’s OncoRay center.

February: Minister President Stanislaw Tillich officially inaugurated Saxony’s largest research facility: The ELBE – Center for High-Power Radiation Sources.

May: HZDR Innovation GmbH wins a special award in the nationwide technology transfer contest "wissen.schafft.arbeit".

September: German Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Johanna Wanka, inaugurates newly constructed domicile of „National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology – OncoRay“ on the campus of the University Hospital Dresden.

December: Saxony’s Minister for Science and the Arts, Prof. Sabine von Schorlemer, opens HLD's new extension building – the lab's size was doubled since 2011.


Prof. Baumann (links) präsentiert einen OncoRay-Schriftzug, der mit Protonen-Strahlen auf einen Film gebracht wurde.February: On February 13, 2014, the HZDR Board of Directors and the Director-General of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) signed a contract for a new five-year research collaboration. With the Rossendorf Beamline (ROBL) at the research site in Grenoble the HZDR will continue to provide two measuring stations for international users, and for in-house research.

June: The world's largest international accelerator conference IPAC 2014 took place in Dresden from June 15 to 20. The HZDR was the local organizer of this conference.

August: Federal Research Minister Prof. Johanna Wanka and Stanislaw Tillich, Prime Minister of Saxony, opened the University Proton Therapy Dresden on August 22. The HZDR, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus and the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Dresden are forming a consortium together and extend their long lasting cooperation. Funded with millions each year, Dresden will also be built up as a partner site of the already established National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg (NCT).

November: On November 27, 2014 an agreement was signed that marked the founding of the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) as an official organization. The EMFL founding organizations, the HZDR, the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and the RU and the FOM in the Netherlands (Radboud Universität Nijmegen and Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) will thus continue the successful collaboration of their high-field magnet labs.

December: The HZDR will be key coordinating partner of EIT Raw Materials, the largest network for science and technology in Europe – this was announced on December 9 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technologie (EIT). The network connects more than 100 European institutions and is funded with 410 million euros for a period of seven years by the EU.