Breaking ground for new inter-state research building at DESY

Scientists from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein will jointly carry out research in the Photon Science Building


Joint first ground-breaking: DESY director Helmut Dosch, HZG director Wolfgang Kaysser, Hamburg state secretary Eva Gümbel, Schleswig-Holstein research minister Kristin Alheit, CAU President Lutz Kipp, DESY´s Director of Administration Christian Harringa and Prof. Andreas Stierle, head of the DESY NanoLab (from left, photo: DESY, Lars Berg)

Photon Science building

Architectural rendering of the new Photon Science building (picture: Reiner Becker Architekten BDA/DESY).

Politicians and scientists – including Kristin Alheit and Eva Gümbel, the minister for research of the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the state secretary ('Staatsrätin') of the city state of Hamburg – have broken the ground for a new laboratory and office building at DESY’s site in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld. The new Photon Science Building is to become a research facility for scientists from Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht (HZG), Christian Albrechts University in Kiel (CAU) and DESY. The new building will have direct access to DESY’s light sources and, along with its close connections to research groups on campus, this will provide ideal conditions for photon research and nanoscience. The Photon Science Building costs 14.1 million euros and is scheduled to be finished in spring 2019.

“With the Photon Science Building, we are concentrating the collaboration between three strong research partners: Christian Albrechts University, Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht and DESY,” says Helmut Dosch, the chairman of DESY’s Board of Directors, in which capacity he commissioned the new building. “It offers ideal conditions for preparing samples for our synchrotron radiation source PETRA III, as well as complementary investigation techniques, so that we will be able to make the best possible use of the research potential offered by our equipment.”

Eva Gümbel, state secretary from the Ministry for Science, Research and Equal Opportunities for the City of Hamburg, says: “I am very pleased that the expansion of the DESY research campus to become an international science park is continuing with the construction of the Photon Science Building. The building is also an important part of our efforts to interconnect Hamburg and the metropolitan region even further: Our aim is to achieve an even closer cooperation between universities and non-university research institutions, as well as between science and industry.”

“The new building for which we break the ground today offers ideal conditions for photon science and nano science: direct connection to existing infrastructure, excellent structural conditions and a further and tighter cross-linking of different research groups under one roof, ” says Schleswig-Holstein research minister Kristin Alheit. „Thus, today stands for a quantitative and qualitative burst for the whole DESY campus."

“With this joint building we are introducing a new quality to the utilisation of PETRA III. This applies to the partners HZG, CAU and DESY, as well as external research groups from all over the world. The idea of long-term cooperation with external users in our “German Engineering Materials Science Centre” is making large strides forwards thanks to this building project,” explains the director of the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, Wolfgang Kaysser. “Our share of 3.6 million euros for the building, along with the 5 million or so euros we have already spent on the GEMS experimental equipment, are the best possible investment into science and future high-tech products; I’m quite convinced of that.”

“The Photon Science Building will provide a home on the DESY campus to the Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory – a successful cooperative venture that has existed between Christian Albrechts University in Kiel and DESY for many years now. Numerous scientists in Kiel will benefit from this,” says Lutz Kipp, the President of CAU. The new building offers them excellent conditions for their research into materials on the minutest scale.

The new five-storey building is also to become DESY’s centre for nanoresearch. The technically sophisticated laboratories on the ground floor will permit new methods to be used especially in nanoresearch. They offer ideal conditions for structuring, manufacturing, characterising and marking nanosamples, which can then be studied under high-intensity X-rays at the research facilities PETRA III or FLASH. The high-sensitivity laboratory equipment needed for this kind of research will stand on separate, ultra-low-vibration foundations within the building, and the fragile samples can then be moved to PETRA’s experimental hall “Max von Laue”, which is only a short distance away.

“Thanks to an investment by DESY of 10 million euros into the nano-instrumentation, the new laboratories will offer unique conditions, particularly for studying innovative nanomaterials,” explains Andreas Stierle, the head of the DESY NanoLab. “Whether nanomagnetism for smaller data storage devices, the corrosion of surfaces or manufacturing and characterising completely new nanostructures; here we will be able to study all these things. The services offered by the DESY NanoLab are also available to external research scientists.”

With its five storeys, the Photon Science Building will offer more than 5000 square metres of net floor space, over 700 square metres of which will be set aside for laboratories. In addition to the DESY-NanoLab, the “German Engineering Materials Science Centre – GEMS” of HZG and parts of CAU are also to move into the new building, as well as other DESY Photon Science research teams.

“One of the strengths of the GEMS measuring stations at PETRA III will be their ability to look at what exactly goes on “in-situ” during manufacturing or processing in real time. Because for engineering materials, the changes in the material that occur within milliseconds during manufacturing and processing are of tremendous interest,” explains the head of GEMS, Martin Müller. “The new facility will allow us to further expand our competence in this area.”

The experimental techniques used by the Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory include, for example, experiments carried out on Kiel’s diffractometer LISA, in which X-rays generated by PETRA III can be synchronised with the beam of a high-powered short-pulse laser and directed at liquid samples. This set-up can be used for a detailed study of the processes involved in manufacturing nanomaterials or the biochemical processes that occur within cell membranes. The photoelectron spectrometer ASPHERE III, which was developed in Kiel, will also be used at PETRA III and will lead to a better understanding of the properties of materials and how things work. It allows individual electrons in materials and electronic components to be studied. Ruprecht Haensel, after whom the laboratory is named, was a scientist at DESY in the 1960s and one of the world’s most important pioneers in research using synchrotron radiation. In 1974, he was appointed a professor at CAU and in 1986 he became the founding director of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ESRF, in Grenoble. He returned to CAU in Kiel in 1994 – first as Dean and later as its President.

Overall, the new Photon Science Building will offer room for some 200 employees from the participating research institutions, as well as international partners working at the X-ray source PETRA III. The DESY Photon Science User Office, a reception centre for thousands of guest researchers who use DESY’s radiation sources and the DESY NanoLab for their research every year, is also moving into the new building.

The 14.1 million euros for the building will come out of funds made available by the German national government as well as the regional governments of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, and also the budgets of the three research institutions involved. The plans for the building were drawn up by the Berlin architectural office Reiner Becker Architekten BDA.

(from DESY News)