Let's move!

Biotechnology is regarded as one of the key technologies of the 21st century. It is a motor for the international competitiveness of Germany’s economy and makes an important contribution to the bioeconomy. Our author Katja Lüers visited the biotechnologist Prof. Wolfgang Wiechert at Forschungszentrum Jülich and talked with him about current developments and prospects of the so-called white biotechnology.

Statement by Prof. Katrin Amunts on the use of the molecular genetic scissors CRISPR/Cas9 in two girls

According to the researcher Jiankui He from Shenzhen University in China, the first humans to have been genetically manipulated using the CRISPR/Cas9 molecular genetic scissors were born in November. In two girls, a gene for a receptor of the immune system was purposefully removed in the embryonic stage in order to make them resistant to HIV infections. They will also pass this change on to their descendants.

Lasers for Everyone!

A new family member for Jülich’s scientific infrastructure: JuSPARC is a milestone for information science and materials science at Forschungszentrum Jülich. In the long run, JuSPARC will be established as a user facility. Eventually, particle acceleration will also be possible there.

Climate target of 1.5 °C – everybody is called upon!

On 8 October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its special report on the 1.5 °C climate target. The tenor of the report: it’s urgent! Prof. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr, Director of the Jülich Institute of Energy and Climate Research, contributed to the report as an expert. We asked her for her assessment.

Diesel Controversy: “Retrofitting alone is hardly enough to meet the limits in cities.”

In view of the impending driving bans, various solutions for diesel passenger cars are currently under discussion. Dr. Franz Rohrer from Forschungszentrum Jülich doubts that these measures alone will be sufficient to comply with the limit values in large German city centres. For over 20 years, he and his colleagues have been researching how emissions from transport affect air quality.

AI in the Service of Science

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising many areas of life and knowledge. Jülich researchers, too, are increasingly using certain types of artificial intelligence such as machine learning. AI applications can help to better understand the functioning of the brain, to accelerate the development of new materials or predict environmental and climate data.

A quantum leap for quantum technology

The quantum technology flagship of the European Commission was launched in October 2018. Spanning ten years, the research programme will use grants totalling one billion euros to promote the development of products based on the rules of the exotic quantum world. Our author talked to the physicist Tommaso Calarco about the content orientation of the flagship programme’s first funding round.

Unprecedented Insight into the Sun’s Fusion Reactor

Scientists from the Borexino Collaboration have published the most comprehensive analysis to date of neutrinos from the nuclear fusion process inside the sun. With the aid of the observatory located 1,400 metres below the Earth’s surface, they were able to obtain a complete solar neutrino spectrum and clearly detect neutrinos from a previously unconfirmed reaction for the first time.

Self-testing the energy turnaround

The Jülich campus becomes a real laboratory for energy transition. The aim of the Living Lab Energy Campus (LLEC) project is to investigate the interactions between technology, energy sources and consumers in order to design practical and scalable solutions.

Brain Simulations on Neuromorphic Computers

Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich recently carried out the largest simulation of a neural network on a SpiNNaker system to date. In the interview, Dr. Sacha van Albada talks about the results of her work, which were published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.



Ferngesteuertes Echtzeitprogramm der Alice Challenge

Citizen Science in the Quantum World

3 December 2018 – “Citizen scientists” count butterflies, analyse photographs of the surface of Mars, or solve puzzles to find optimal ways of folding protein molecules. Amateur scientists have now helped to optimize a quantum physics experiment to produce an ultracold quantum gas, participating via a remote gaming interface.

Diesel-Kraftwerk auf den Kanarischen Inseln. Die Reduktion der Ruß-Emissionen wäre ein Beitrag zum Gesundheits- und Klimaschutz.

Fighting against Air Pollution and for Better Climate Protection

30 November 2018 – At the UN Climate Change Conference, German scientists will present the latest research findings on air pollution and, in collaboration with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), discuss sustainable solutions.

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The Scientists' view
Sind Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse käuflich? Blogbeitrag von Prof. Dieter Willbold


Winners of the Falling Walls Lab Jülich 2018

Research topics

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease

Identifizierung von Amyloid-beta-Oligomeren

The Structural Biochemistry division (ICS-6) combines fundamental structural biological research with applied clinical research. The molecular basis of the disease is being decoded by the research group led by Professor Dieter Willbold, using extremely high-resolution structural biological methods such as NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, as well as simulations run on Jülich’s supercomputers. The Institute is one of the world’s leading centres for basic research. The Institute is also developing an innovative therapy strategy using an in-house developed drug candidate that eliminates Aβ oligomers.
The Molecular Organization of the Brain division (INM-2) investigates metabolic and neurochemical processes that underlie neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The main objective of the clinical research conducted by Professor Andreas Bauer’s team is the development of highly specific neurochemical indicators for brain diseases.

More: Alzheimer’s disease …



Identifizierung von Amyloid-beta-Oligomeren

Long-term energy storage is one of the key challenges for the success of the Energy Transition. The lithium-ion battery continues to be the standard for mobile applications. Researchers at Forschungszentrum Jülich are working on increasing its performance and improving its safety. But they are also pursuing other approaches, such as solid-state batteries with ceramic ion conductors and various types of metal-air batteries. Together with the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA), researchers from the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK) are developing and optimising a range of battery concepts for different areas of application.

More: Batteries …

Big Data

Big Data

Kabel und Module des Supercomputers QPACE

The use of Big Data technology is one of the most important trends in the 21st century. The digitalisation of all areas of life brings with it the amassing of vast amounts of data. Businesses and industry use this data to obtain new information – to make predictions, optimise industrial processes or tailor products to customer needs. Big Data problems are also becoming increasingly important in the world of science. Such data often come from different sources. Corresponding datasets tend to be so large and complex or so poorly structured and with such a high level of uncertainty that they can no longer be adequately processed using conventional methods. For example, Big Data analysis plays a key role in medicine when it comes to decoding complex interrelations as the cause of diseases.

More: Big Data …

Fuel Cells

Fuel cells

Kabel und Module des Supercomputers QPACE

Fuel cells use electrochemical reactions to convert hydrogen or hydrogen-rich fuels into electricity, making them environmentally friendly and efficient sources of energy. Three types of fuel cells are being developed at the Forschungszentrum Jülich: solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), high-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells (HT-PEFC) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC). Their different properties and operating conditions make them suitable for a range of different applications, such as in heavy goods vehicles, aircraft or combined heat and power plants.

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Energy Transition

The Energy Transition

Blaue Solaranlage auf Ziegeldach vor blauem Himmel

Solving the global energy problem is considered the foremost challenge of the 21st century. In addition to research into renewable energy sources, batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen as an energy storage and transport mechanism, researchers at the Forschungszentrum Jülich are also working on a number of cross-disciplinary projects.

More: The Energy Transition …


Hydrogen as energy storage


Hydrogen is a widely usable source of energy. It can be stored and transported over long distances, processed into liquid fuels or used directly as a fuel with the help of fuel cells. Hydrogen can be obtained through the electrochemical separation of water – water electrolysis.

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Information Storage and Processing

Information Storage and Processing

Resistive Speicher

The Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI) pursues a number of approaches to increase the energy efficiency, performance, and speed of data storage technologies. To this end, scientists investigate physical phenomena and the properties of materials and materials combinations on the nanoscale, such as in semiconductors and oxides. This work serves as basic research for the development of components and component designs for computer chips. The scientists also keep a look out for materials suitable for entirely new physical phenomena, which could be used to store data.

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umgepflügter Ackerboden mit Bäumen im Hintergrund

Germany has a problem: there is too much nitrate in the groundwater as well as in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. In most cases, the agricultural sector is the culprit, spreading too much liquid manure and mineral fertilizer on fields.

More: Nitrate …

Quantum Computers

Quantum computers

Chipstrukturen vor blauem Hintergrund. Bild: Tomasz Zajda - fotolia

Jülich scientists are making significant contributions to the development of quantum computers. In future these may be able to perform certain tasks faster and more efficiently than is possible with conventional supercomputers. The technology, which for a long time has been merely the stuff of science fiction, has now reached the threshold of market entry. Several leading international companies have joined the race to develop the first universal quantum computer.

More: Quantum computers …

Renewable Resources

Renewable resources for the bioeconomy

In der Pflanzenforschung setzen Wissenschaftler ein Oktokopter bzw. eine Vermessungsdrohne im Freien ein.

Renewable resources play a key role in the bioeconomy. Biobased economy is all about creating opportunities to feed a growing world population, produce fuel from suitable biomass and convert industrial production processes such that they rely as little as possible on crude oil. This requires the development of new bio-based value chains, for example to create basic chemical building blocks for industry.

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Künstliche Photosynthese

Photovoltaics provides an inexhaustible, clean source of energy. However, the efficiency levels achieved are still relatively low, in particular for solar cells of the kind used in conventional roof and field systems. A number of alternatives to the widely used standard silicon solar cells are being researched at the Photovoltaics division (IEK-5).

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ag_rehabilitation of cognitive impairments

Strokes have been the leading cause of permanent disability in Europe and the United States for many years. According to the German Society for Neurology, approximately 260,000 people suffer a stroke in Germany every year. Several teams in the Cognitive Neuroscience (INM-3) division of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine are researching how strokes affect the structure and function of the brain. It has been observed that strokes affect not only motor skills but also cognitive abilities such as alertness, speech and motor function. When this occurs, the brain is able to compensate for the functions lost as a result of the stroke, reconfiguring itself. Scientists at the Institute are working with the Clinic for Neurology at the University of Cologne to determine exactly how this happens and how these processes can be supported by special external procedures.

More: Strokes …



Supercomputer JURECA

Supercomputers have been established as indispensable tools in science. Computer simulations open the door to advances not possible via the conventional route of theory and experimentation. For instance, simulations on supercomputers are needed to validate scientific models in physics, climate research or neuroscience. At the same time, they provide new insights into the properties and structure of materials and biomolecules, as well as the sequence of biological and chemical processes.

More: Supercomputers …