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Synthetic Cells: Controlling Shapes and Movements

Living cells can take on many different forms, in order to move around, worm their way through narrow spaces, or to absorb nutrients. Pathogens use these abilities for active locomotion to penetrate healthy tissue, for instance. Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and ETH Zurich have now studied the physical principles of these complex processes using a new synthetic model system.

CESOC

Together we see more

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have founded a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates a high-profile international focal point in the Rhineland for global Earth system observation with the aim of making strides toward a comprehensive understanding of our planet and better predicting changes.

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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.

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Batteries

Batteries

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.

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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.

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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.

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Hydrogen

Hydrogen as energy storage

Ekolyser-Prototyp

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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Nitrate

Nitrate

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.

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Quantum Computers

Quantum computers

Detailaufnahme des OpenSuperQ

Quantum technology will change our world – in science, industry, business and everyday life. However, the optimal synthesis of theoretical knowledge and practical competence is needed in order for the high expectations to be fulfilled regarding this revolutionary technology. This is a challenge that is a perfect match, as this is where Forschungszentrum Jülich can play to its particular strengths in the area of benefit-inspired fundamental research. Jülich combines fundamental research in quantum materials and quantum computing with concrete application development.

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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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Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics

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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Strokes

Strokes

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.

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Supercomputers

Supercomputers

JUWELS blau beleuchtet in der Rechnerhalle des JSC, fotografiert aus der Froschperspektive

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.

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