Projects for the Future: Research for the World of Tomorrow
As a member of the Helmholtz Association, the HZDR operates large-scale research facilities which attract guests from Germany and abroad wishing to conduct experiments. Part of the large-scale scientific equipment permits new insights into the behavior of matter under extreme conditions; that is, under extremely high temperatures, pressures, and electromagnetic fields as well as intense radiation. This core subject combines the HZDR’s in-house materials science research with the focal points cancer research and energy research; thus, permitting comprehensive research results in an interdisciplinary approach which help solve scientifically and socially relevant problems.
The objective of the DRESDYN project is the creation of a European platform for dynamo experiments and thermohydraulic studies with fluid sodium – the world’s first precession dynamo. With this facility it will be possible to simulate more realistically, for example, the evolution of cosmic magnetic fields than it has been possible so far. In addition, the experiments will allow detailed insights into metal melts to develop new liquid metal batteries for energy storage or to explore the use of liquid metals in high-temperature processes such as solar power plants.
Contact: Dr. Gunter Gerbeth
Coordinated by the HZDR, a new experimental facility was built at European XFEL in Hamburg: the Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields (HIBEF). It is a key addition to the High-Energy Density Science Instrument (HED). By coupling laser light with X-rays and high magnetic fields our laboratory will allow for research under extreme conditions, thus providing a deeper insight into the structure of materials and in very fast natural processes. The results could be used to improve models of planet formation or build the foundation for innovation in materials and accelerator research. HIBEF is part of the "Helmholtz International Beamlines" (HIB), which are funded with a total of almost 30 million euros.
Contact: PD Dr. Toma Toncian
The CASUS research institute in Saxony is to become the center for digital interdisciplinary systems research in Germany. It aims to create digital, dynamic "worldviews" of complex systems that combine large amounts of data about these systems with novel methods of modelling such systems in order to create a digital image of complex reality based on systems and their interactions and thus be able to make predictions. CASUS is set up as an institute of the HZDR together with the partners Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden University of Technology and the University of Wrocław.
Contact: Dr. Michael Bussmann
With the expansion of the ELBE radiation source between 2009 and 2014, a Center for High-Power Radiation Sources was built, which houses a narrow-band and a broad-band terahertz source as well as experiments on coupling the high-power laser DRACO with the ELBE electron beam. Still under construction is the new petawatt laser system PENELOPE.
On the Helmholtz-Roadmap 2021
DALI will combine a high-field radiation source for terahertz radiation with a free-electron laser for wavelengths in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV). This combination, which is unique in the world, could create the conditions for extremely diverse, cutting-edge research. The intense terahertz radiation source will enable researchers to specifically influence functionally relevant electronic states in solids, especially in nanostructures and high-temperature superconductors. The intense VUV radiation source, in turn, promises to improve a microscopic understanding of chemical reactions. In addition to the photon sources, the scientists will also have a tool in the form of an additional source of intense positron radiation that allows them to dynamically investigate defects in crystalline solids and porous materials on the nanometer scale.
Contact: Prof. Manfred Helm
One of the challenges confronting our society today is the sustainable use of our resources. The concept of a circular economy, in which products, materials and components are reused and recycled within a loop, thus generating hardly any waste, is intended to meet this challenge. In order to recover raw materials of all kinds (e.g. rare earth elements) in an energy-efficient and function-preserving way, it is necessary to develop a new generation of adaptive and flexible technologies and digital platforms for the processing and recycling. FlexiPlant is intended to be a globally unique research infrastructure, to develop and test scientific models, methods and technologies for the mechanical processing of raw material in a pilot scale. The digitalization and automation of the processing system are required for transferring the processes to industrial scale. As an open transfer platform, FlexiPlant will be designed to provide a variety of research and cooperation opportunities for interested partners from academia, industry and society.
Contact: Prof. Karl Gerald van den Boogart
The resource-efficient circular economy plays a prominent role in the German government's high-tech strategy as well as in the EU's raw materials initiative. An energy-efficient supply of metal-bearing and mineral raw materials is a key element in this. Technologies that are particularly recommended for this purpose often use turbulent multiphase flows for the recovery of valuable materials. Central processes in such flows, such as the attachment of valuable mineral particles to bubbles, are still poorly understood. This is where CeRI2 comes in. Within the project, the length scales of multiphase flows relevant for the recovery of valuable particles are to be investigated. In addition, the development of the necessary measurement technology and of tools for the intensification of processes is planned. For process optimization, strong emphasis is to be placed on the inclusion of artificial intelligence methods.
Contact: Prof. Kerstin Eckert
The effects of radionuclides on the environment have so far been studied mainly using statistical methods. The Center for Radioecology and Radiation Research (ZRS), on the other hand, will open up the topic through basic scientific research and elucidate processes at the molecular and cellular level. The planned research includes both the effects of radiation on humans as well as the environmental consequences of radionuclides released, for example, by geothermal applications or accidents.
Contact: Prof. Thorsten Stumpf
On the way to the technologically best possible radiation therapy, PT2030 aims to develop real-time adaptive proton therapy. This is to be achieved by a closed, fully automated feedback loop of imaging, treatment verification and adaptation in real time, supported by artificial intelligence. In perspective, the clinical advantage of proton therapy can thus be brought to the limits of what is physically possible. This will improve the patient's chances of survival and reduce side effects. At the same time, the number of tumor regions that can be treated with proton therapy is to be expanded. To this end, a unique research-clinic hybrid proton facility is being designed. Novel software and hardware components and their interaction will be tested, further developed and made ready for clinical use. Close cooperation partners in this project will be the University Medical Center Dresden, the medical technology industry and the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding (CASUS).
Contact: Prof. Christian Richter
With ACDC, a new type of accelerator platform will be created in Germany, thus enabling applications in environmental research, geology and astrophysics that are not at disposal with the facilities currently available in Europe. The focus is on a new concept for high-energy accelerator mass spectrometry, which will address current issues in the field of climate change and environmental protection. In addition, the research portfolio at HZDR is broadened to include the field of radiation biology. The combination with ion post-acceleration will open up new research areas in interdisciplinary accelerator mass spectrometry as well as in space research.