The Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (formerly: Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht) maintains an outstation at DESY in Hamburg as part of its German Engineering Materials Science Centre. The outstation, which consists of two measuring stations at the PETRA III X-ray radiation source, focuses on the engineering science aspects of materials research.

To customize high-tech materials for their intended applications, materials scientists need to know as much as possible about their “inner life”. How are the atoms arranged within the materials? Do the materials contain harmful cracks, pores or foreign bodies? Valuable answers to such questions can be obtained by studying materials with the X-ray light produced by PETRA III.

Materials research at PETRA III

At the Hereon measuring stations at PETRA III, materials scientists can for example investigate in detail what happens at the nanoscale when a welding seam is formed. They can also produce precise X-ray images of massive workpieces such as a complete ship’s propeller, or analyse plastic membranes that may someday help to sequester carbon dioxide. In this way, the experts at PETRA III are contributing to the advanced development of materials and processes that will sooner or later become commonplace in industrial, transportation and everyday applications – including new materials for lighter-weight cars, more effective manufacturing methods for aircraft construction and improved hydrogen tanks for environmentally compatible drive systems.