The Helmholtz Association has awarded DESY grants to set up three new Young Investigators Groups. With annual funds of 250 000 euros each, three young scientists can set up their own research groups at DESY over a period of five years. Altogether, the Helmholtz Association is supporting 17 new Young Investigators Groups at its 18 centres. “I am very happy that no fewer than three of our candidates were able to convince the jury with their projects. This shows the outstanding quality of the young scientists we have at DESY”, says Prof. Helmut Dosch, chairman of DESY’s Board of Directors. DESY itself will be supplying half the overall funds in each case.
In her group, Dr. Sadia Bari will be developing new methods for examining biomolecules. For this purpose, these proteins are to be placed in the beam of a bright X-ray source using a technique known as electrospray ionisation, making it possible to study them in a defined state without any substrate or solvent. Scientists are hoping that this will allow a range of fundamental questions to be answered, including the nature of the radiation damage that occurs in biological cells during medical radiation treatment, and the electrical charge transfer that occurs, for example, during photosynthesis in plants.
Dr. Martin Beye was awarded the grant to develop new methods of investigation in materials science using X-rays. So-called soft X-rays, which have less energy than hard X-rays, are particularly suitable for studying active surfaces and boundary layers, because they are specifically sensitive to the active chemical elements in a compound. In this project, methods from optical laser spectroscopy are to be adapted for use with X-rays. The scientists are hoping that this will extend the scope of their analytical methods to a similar degree to that achieved through the introduction of optical lasers.
Dr. Sarah Heim is setting up a group of young investigators to search for dark matter and other features of the so-called new physics, using the ATLAS detector at the world’s largest particle accelerator, the LHC. The scientists want to use two different approaches to look for candidates for the hitherto completely mysterious dark matter: on the one hand via the decay of the Higgs boson, which was discovered in 2012 at the LHC, into invisible particles which do not leave a trace in the detector; on the other hand indirectly by comparing the properties of the Higgs particle with the predictions of the so-called standard model of particle physics. DESY has various research groups involved in experiments at the LHC. Heim’s Young Investigators Group will be part of the ATLAS group at DESY.
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DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.