FLASH at the Centre of a New Virtual Institute

Picoplankton in front of a diffraction image

On 9 November, the Helmholtz Association announced the funding of ten new Virtual Institutes – among them the project Femtosecond X-ray science: FLASH imaging of nanoparticles and biosamples. “The goal is to explore new imaging techniques in the study of nanoparticles and biological samples using the ultra-short X-ray pulses of FLASH,” explains Thomas Möller, Professor at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and spokesperson of the new Virtual Institute. “We are a total of 12 scientists with complementary competence, located at TU Berlin, Hamburg University, Uppsala University and DESY. Together, we aim to perform revolutionary experiments at FLASH on non-crystalline samples, ranging from clusters to small living cells, and obtain structures with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.”

The goal of the Helmholtz Virtual Institutes is to initiate or promote cooperation between universities and Helmholtz Centres. The Virtual Institutes are cross-locational, cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional, and aim to unite the competencies of universities and Helmholtz Centres. Over a three-year period, they receive funding of up to 300.000 euros per year.