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One cannot imagine research and industry without ion beams. They have become indispensable, whether it be for the surface treatment of materials (e.g. exhaust turbochargers, machine tools, medical implants), the creation of functional films in solar cells, or electronic components for micro, opto, and high power electronics (e.g. transistors, semiconductor detectors, light emitting diodes, high power switches). In close cooperation with our Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) and with the help of ion beams, the HZDR scientists are also able to analyze mineral raw materials and to evaluate them for their usability in the exploitation of scarce elements (e.g. rare earths).
In contrast to light rays (electromagnetic waves), ion beams are electrically charged particle beams. An applied voltage can accelerate these particles up to a specific velocity (energy) which then allows them to penetrate solid materials. Depending on the particle mass and energy, thin films are produced and/or the properties of materials changed. In case of very high energies – at an accelerating voltage of more than 1 million volts – and with very light particles, e.g. protons, it is also possible to analyze the depth resolved composition of thin films. The creation of such ion beams requires large accelerator facilities which are made available by the HZDR’s Ion Beam Center to users from around the globe.
The topic "Physics and Materials Research with Ion Beams" is jointly investigated by the HZDR and the GSI Helmholzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt.
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Involved HZDR institutes
- Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research
- Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology
- GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung Darmstadt
- HZDR Innovation GmbH
- Geokompetenzzentrum Freiberg e.V.