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News Archive 2022
hgf-nachwuchsgruppe-meierTop mark for the Helmholtz YIG „Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance"

The Helmholtz Young Investigator Group “Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance” led by Benno Meier has been evaluated with “extraordinary success”. The scientist’s aim is to increase the sensitivity and throughput of magnetic resonance. The intensity of the signal corresponds to the alignment of nuclear spins with an applied magnetic field: typically, it is only 1 in 100,000 spins. With hyperpolarization nearly all spins align and the signal intensifies by up to four orders of magnitude. Being an expert in this field, Benno Meier has also become one of four principal investigators of ERC Synergy Grant Highly Informative Drug Screening by Overcoming NMR Restrictions (HiSCORE) in 2020.

The Meier Lab
Wasserführende Schichten im Untergrund als Wärme/KältespeicherGeothermal Energy. Groundwater as heat/cold storage for Germany

More than 30% of Germany’s final energy consumption currently results from thermal energy for heating and cooling in the building sector. Using ground water as a thermal energy storage system could meet a large proportion of this demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions up to 75%. Combining hydrogeological and climatic criteria within a spatial analysis, researchers around Kathrin Menberg have now revealed that about 54% of the investigated German area are very well or well suitable for shallow low-temperature aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems: especially the North German Basin, the Upper Rhine Graben and the South German Molasse Basin. With the ongoing climate change, the proportion of suitable area might even increase.

Geothermal Energy
SWR Science TalkSWR Science Talk with Katharina Scherf: How healthy is Our Daily Bread?

What are wheat-related diseases and what will our future bread look like? SWR presenter Ralf Caspary talks about this with food chemist Katharina Scherf. Cereals are among the world's most important sources of nutrients, but they also contain gluten and other immunoreactive components. Why more and more people are reporting wheat intolerance has not yet been conclusively clarified. In addition to the ingredients in wheat itself as well as the cultivation and processing methods, the human immune system and its reaction to changing environmental influences also play a role. For example, the number of allergy and stress-related diseases has increased, says Katharina Scherf, while the protein content in wheat has rather decreased.

SWR Science Talk - Episode 3
nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33750-7Nature.Comm. Biocompatible Anticancer Agent works as light-activated Photoswitch

To strengthen therapeutic effectiveness and reduce side effects, it is desirable for drugs to become active upon reaching their target region only. Zbigniew Pianowski and his group have now found that the biological activity of plinabulin – an anticancer drug candidate – can be triggered by visible light. Thus, the pharmacological agent itself works as a photoswitch without modification of its original structure. Using cyan and violet light, the scientists can reversibly switch between two thermally stable compositions of the molecule showing distinctly different states of activity. The newly discovered molecular photoswitch embedded in plinabulin also reversibly changes its fluorescence making it applicable for super-resolution microscopy.

Hartwig Anzt, Christian Grams, Katharina ScherfChange at the YIN Representative Board: Christian Grams succeeds Hartwig Anzt

Having been part of the YIN Extended Board since February 2021, Christian Grams (m.) has taken on a new role: Together with Katharina Scherf (r.), he now speaks for YIN as the Representative Board! For the last 2.5 years, Hartwig Anzt (l.) has successfully filled this position. In August, he has succeeded Jack Dongarra, latest winner of the Turing Award – the so-called "Nobel Prize of Computing“ – in leading the Innovative Computing Lab at the University of Tennessee. Nonetheless, Hartwig Anzt will still spend part of his time at KIT to support the BMBF-funded project WarmWorld which will bring the software of the global wheater and climate prediction model ICON up to date.

A big THANK YOU to all three for their engagement and enthusiasm in representing YIN!

Anna Böhmer and Martin Dienwiebel at the YIN Day 2022Hybrid YIN Day 2022 with Project Blind Dates and Exemplary Career Paths

Personal presence was a huge asset facilitating lively exchange and interaction at this year’s YIN Day. Highlights were project blind dates to find innovative collaborative ideas, greetings from Vice President Oliver Kraft and the Head of Division I Andrea Robitzki as well as three scientific careers talk: YIN member Susanne Benz shared a glimpse into the YIG Preparation Program and her Freigeist Fellowship; alumna Anna Böhmer (l.), Professor of Experimental Physics, especially Solid State, spoke of her research at the Ruhr University Bochum; and Martin Dienwiebel (r.), long-standing YIN alumnus and Professor for Applied Nanotribology, talked about tribology at the cross section between Fraunhofer, KIT, and industry.

Power GridNature Comm. Understanding counter-intuitive Load Distribution in Power Grids

The ongoing energy transition requires power grid extensions to connect renewable generators to consumers and to transfer power over long distances. Increasing the capacity of existing lines or adding new lines, however, may counter-intuitively also reduce the overall system performance and even promote blackouts. “We present an experimental setup demonstrating this Braess’ paradox and a topological theory that reveals the key mechanism behind it,” so first author Benjamin Schäfer. “Any upgrade of a grid that induces a cycle flow in alignment with the flow on the most highly loaded line will further increase the load there." The results offer a theoretical method to understand and practical guidelines to support the systemic planning of grid extensions.

Nature Communications
 polar vectors in piezo ceramicNature Comm. Deciphering piezo-response in lead-free ceramics at phase boundary

Piezoelectric materials convert mechanical into electrical energy and vice versa. They have a broad range of applications such as in wireless sensor networks or diagnostic ultrasound imaging. While lead-containing piezoceramics are widely in use today, more environmentally friendly alternatives will be crucial for a sustainable future. Manuel Hinterstein and his Emmy Noether group have now for the first time deciphered the fundamental structure-property relationship of lead-free (K,Na)NbO3-based piezoceramics. Their study shows that the change in volume upon electric stimulation is up to 5 times larger in compositions with structural instabilities at phase boundary than in compositions without. Thus, composition engineering is key to high-performance ceramics.

Nature Communications
The electricity consumption is disentangled into a trend (orange) and further fluctuations, which are both analyzed separately.Nature Comm. Data-driven load profiles capture dynamics in electricity consumption

The dynamics of power consumption are essential for planning and operating sustainable energy systems. "Whereas variations in the dynamics of renewable energy generation are reasonably well studied, a deeper understanding of the variations in consumption dynamics is still missing," says Benjamin Schäfer, shared first author of the recent study. "We have now disentangled the average demand profiles from the demand fluctuations based purely on time series data, without assuming any model." Such as an approach offers a better understanding of demand dynamics and in particular its fluctuations. "We hope that our insights will help to improve current and future (micro) grids, in particular, when it comes to balancing supply and demand."

Nature Communications
Simulated HeartDigital Twin reveals optimal personalized ablation treatment of atrial fibrillation

The long-term success rate of ablation therapy is still sub-optimal in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation. To better prevent the recurrence of arrhythmia, researchers at KIT and the University Hospital of Freiburg have now systematically compared different therapeutic approaches in 29 anatomical and functional “digital twins” of the patients’ hearts. “We were able to show that precise identification of tissue changes is crucial to achieve the optimal therapeutic success with the smallest possible intervention”, says Axel Loewe, one of the main authors. “By defining personalized ablations lines and connecting them to the closest non-conductive barrier, we could induce no further arrhythmia episode in any of the patient-specific models.”

EP Europace, euac116
Luise Kaerger and Nadine RuehrAppointed: Heisenberg and Helmholtz Professorship at KIT for two YIN members

In July 2022, Luise Kärger (r.) and Nadine Rühr (l.) started their full professorship positions at KIT. Luise Kärger has been successful within the Heisenberg Program provided by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Thus, acknowledging the high scientific quality and originality of her research at an international level, the DFG will fund her Professorship for Digitalization in Lightweight Construction for the next five years. Nadine Rühr is now Professor for Climatic Ecophysiology at the KIT Campus Alpin. Her professorship is supported by the Helmholtz Association via the first-time professorial appointment program for excellent women scientists. Main selection criterion was her outstanding scientific performance in Germany and abroad.

Subsurface heatNature Communications: subsurface heat recycling a sheating alternative

Climate change continues into the soil: Near-surface layers can warm up by several degrees Celsius, especially below cities. The temperature surplus could be used worldwide for a base-load heat supply. This involves pumping groundwater through a heat exchanger and returning it to the reservoir cooled. "If you don't remove the excess heat, it could affect groundwater quality worldwide in the coming decades," says Katrin Menberg. In a team with first author Susanne Benz and colleagues from Canada and Germany, she studied thousands of sites on several continents. In most cases, thermal use would be conceivable. Without groundwater, a heat medium could be circulated in a closed circuit installed below ground.

Nature Communications
perowskit-perowskit tandem solar moduleNature Energy: Fully Scalable Perovskite/ Perovskite Tandem Solar Modules

Researchers at KIT have developed a prototype all-perovskite tandem solar module with an efficiency of up to 19.1 percent on an aperture area of 12.25 square centimeters - a technological breakthrough! "The result motivates further work in research and industry to bring this equally sustainable and seminal technology to market maturity by upscaling as well as improving stability," explains team leader and main author Ulrich Paetzold. The low efficiency loss with upscaling is based on three key innovations: optimized light management to reduce reflections in the solar cell architecture, high-throughput laser interconnections, and using coating methods that are already established industrial practice. The journal Nature Energy reports on the results.


Nature Energy
UFZ-Dürremonitor für DeutschlandKIT Expert of the Month Somidh Saha: Germany is now a forest fire country

A moment ago, KIT researchers in Brandenburg were studying how the forest and ecosystem recovered from the devastating fires of 2018. Now, the current fires have destroyed a large part of the experimental areas. "As a result of climate change, we are experiencing extreme heat waves and droughts. This naturally increases the risk of fire. Germany is now a forest fire country," says Somidh Saha. Large forest fires that spread over several hundred hectares could now be expected on a regular basis. Saha researches how different tree species react to fire and how to make Germany's forests more resilient to the effects of climate change. In addition, many more resources would need to be allocated to fire prevention and suppression, fire ecology, and forest restoration.

KIT expert Somidh Saha
Walking ScientistsWalking Scientists at the Annual Celebration of KIT - YIN members engage in dialogue

Inquired! The theme of the current Year of Science also characterized the program of the Annual Celebration 2022 of KIT: At the reception, selected YIN members moved among the guests as "Walking Scientists" and answered questions about their research. Their expertise ranged from didactics (Ingo Wagner) and geothermal energy (Kathrin Menberg) to fuel cells (Jan Haußmann), energy systems (Giovanni de Carne), and energy informatics (Benjamin Schäfer) to artificial intelligence (Michael Färber) and food chemistry (Katharina Scherf). Conversely, the junior executives had the opportunity to talk to guests e.g. from federal and state ministries, for instance. Ingo Wagner was also awarded the Faculty Teaching Prize in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Annual Celebration 2022 of KIT
W1 profesorship for Verfürth-Grams-WillkeW1 professorship for three externally evaluated group leaders in YIN

To ensure the continued stay of excellent young group leaders, KIT may announce a W1 professorship matching their respective fields of expertise. According to the Quality Assurance Concept for Junior Professorships and Tenure-track Professorships at KIT, heads of highly competitive, externally evaluated junior research groups can apply for such a position. This way, three further YIN members asserted themselves against the competition and were appointed: Emmy Noether Group leader Barbara Verfürth now holds a W1 professorship for Numerics of Partial Differential Equations and Helmholtz Young Investigator Group leader Christian Grams for Meteorology. Likewise leading an Emmy Noether Group, Philip Willke become W1 professor for Quantum Control of Spins on Surfaces.

CO2 capture and conversion via photoactive MOFsYIN Grants 2022 for innovative research ideas in chemistry and physics

Competitively awarded, the YIN Grants provide a small start-up budget for testing and further developing promising ideas. The best proposal is also recognized with the YIN Award signed by the Vice-President for Research. This year, it goes to Claudia Bizzarri and Manuel Tsotsalas. They aim to absorb CO2 from the environment and convert it into valuable chemicals using photoactive microporous metal-organic frameworks. Philip Willke and Pascal Friederich receive a YIN Grant to gain new physical insights by systematically analyzing data from scanning tunneling microscopy with machine learning. Katharina Scherf and Ulrike van der Schaaf will investigate how healthy plant oils can be transformed to take on butter-like qualities in fine bakery goods.

YIN Grants
Combining Batteries with Supercapsnature energy: Battery Storage meets Supercapacitor Fast-Charging

Bridging the divide between battery and capacitor technologies, scientists propose a continuous transition between the two energy storage mechanisms. Their goal is to combine the best out of both worlds: Batteries store a lot of energy but take time to charge; supercapacitors charge very quickly, but their energy density is limited. "By increasing the space for the electrolyte in the battery electrode, charge carriers can be embedded there with parts of their solvent shell," explains first author Simon Fleischmann. "Being increasingly covered by this shell, the interaction of the ions with the electrode continuously decreases and we observe the gradual transition to a double-layer behavior as in a supercapacitor."

KIT news and video
Harald Perten Prize for ScherfInternational Harald Perten Prize 2022 goes to food scientist Katharina Scherf

Katharina Scherf's main research focus lies on the functional properties of gluten and the effect of enzymes on gluten and bread. Additionally, she puts specific efforts on analytical, immunological, and biochemical aspects of celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. With the Harald Perten Prize, the International Association for Cereal Chemistry rewards outstanding achievements in science, research, teaching, or transmission of knowledge which serve the cereal sciences and technology - primarily recognizing practical applications in the areas of starch, gluten and enzymes. The prize has been sponsored by the Harald Perten Foundation every other year since 1990.

Harald Perten Prize 2022
damage by wind gustsMonthly Weather Review: Better Prediction of Wind Gusts with Neural Networks

Strong wind gusts can cause great damage. Early and reliable forecasts are therefore crucial. "In comparison, AI methods are clearly superior to classical statistical approaches in this regard, as they allow new sources of information such as geographical conditions or other meteorological variables like temperature and solar radiation to be better incorporated," says Sebastian Lerch, head of the junior research group "AI Methods for Probabilistic Weather Forecasts." In particular, neural networks could learn complex, non-linear correlations from the available large amounts of data in order to correct the systematic errors in ensemble forecasts.

Monthly Weather Review
Pascal Friederich receives the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, the most important recognition of early-career researchers in Germany.DFG awards prestigious Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize to Pascal Friederich

The German Research Foundation (DFG) awards the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize to early career researchers as a distinction for their outstanding achievements. Pascal Friederich’s interdisciplinary work concentrates on the use of artificial intelligence for the simulation of materials, virtual materials design, and autonomous experimental platforms for automatic materials recognition. “The Leibnitz Prize is a great recognition of his outstanding work. We are proud and very happy,” says the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka. At KIT, the last awardee was YIN alumnus Pavel Levkin in 2015. The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize is named after the physicist and former president of the DFG.

press info
D. Bresser; K. ScherfTwo ERC Starting Grants for YIN board members in 2021

Dominic Bresser and Katharina Scherf have each obtainded a prestigious starting grant by the European Council of Research (ERC). Within the RACER project on Highly Redox-active Atomic Centers in Electrode Materials for Rechargeable Batteries, Dominic Bresser plans to develop novel battery materials to achieve enhanced energy and power densities at full-cell level. Katharina Scherf aims at tracking gluten immunoreactive peptides from the grain to the gut and beyond. In her project GLUTENOMICS, she wants to gain a new understanding of how protein structures govern digestibility. Her ambition is to tailor grain-based foods towards better tolerability and, thus, prevent the initial onset of wheat-related disorders

ERC grantees from YIN
Philip WillkeThe Gaede Award 2022 of the German Physical Society goes to Philip Willke

Philip Willke is recognized for "his outstanding experimental work on the study of single electron and nuclear spins using electron spin resonance on single atoms on surfaces". With his Emmy Noether group, he conducts research at the frontier of quantum technologies and nanoscience. The single-atom electron spin resonance technique, he has developed to maturity, is currently an exciting field in solid-state and surface physics. The individual measurement of the quantum mechanical properties of single atoms and molecules on surfaces opens up completely new possibilities to manipulate atomic structures and create artificial quantum systems.

Gaede Award
News Archive 2021
Laser-Attack on ComputersGap in IT Security: Optical Computer Attacks using Laser Light on build-in LEDs

Computer networks in critical infrastructures are often physically isolated to prevent external access. Having neither wired nor wireless connections to the outside, they are air-gapped. By directing laser light at build-in LEDs, researchers could now establish an optical communication to these systems - bridging the gap. Data transfer then works in both directions over a distance of up to 25m. “Optical attacks are possible in commercially available office devices used at companies, universities, and authorities,” says Christian Wressnegger, head of the Intelligent System Security Group of KASTEL. In the LaserShark project, he cooperates with researchers from TU Braunschweig and TU Berlin.

Press info
young professorsThree new professors in YIN - similarities and differences in the qualification phase

Schirin Hanf, Julia Maibach and Hartwig Anzt (f.l.t.r.) are newly appointed young professors at KIT. Schirin Hanf holds a tenure-track professorship for fundamental inorganic chemistry focusing on the sustainable use of metals. After her PhD in 2019, she spent some time at the BASF postdoctoral centre in Heidelberg, before joining the YIG Prep Program at KIT and, finally, being appointed. Julia Maibach and Hartwig Anzt both have been leading a junior research group since 2017. As part of the KIT Excellent Tenure program, BMBF group leader Julia Maibach is now also tenure-track professor for interface processes. Junior professor Hartwig Anzt and his Helmholtz young investigator group focus on fixed-point numerical algorithms.

Life science bridge awardFrank Biedermann receives Life Sciences Bridge Award from the Aventis Foundation

With the Life Science Bridge Award, the Aventis Foundation supports talented young researchers and encourages them pursue to bold and unconventional scientific ideas. Frank Biedermann and his Emmy Noether group have tested an alternative receptor design principle ensuring high binding affinities for synthetic macrocyclic compounds. Thus, they recently introduced the strongest and most selective fluorescent artificial receptor for the neurotransmitter serotonin known so far. He hopes for his invention to become clinically relevant to help real patients. With Frank Biedermann, Zeynep Altintas and Lucas Jae, three postdoctoral scientists received the award in 2021.

Interview with Frank Biedermann
FußballsportAppeal for physical activity pact: exercise for healthy adolescents during Corona

"Five theses and eleven recommendations for the promotion of physical activity and sports for children and adolescents against the background of the corona pandemic" is the title of a current research report at KIT. The physical everyday activity and the motor performance of adolescents decreased significantly in the second lockdown compared to the first, explains co-author Claudia Niessner. She is project manager of the nationally representative motor module longitudinal study, which together with the fitness barometer of the Kinderturnstiftung Baden-Württemberg provided the data basis. The report is an appeal to the federal, state and local governments to promote sport and physical activity concepts nationwide.

Abbildung: Arbeitsgruppen Nienhaus und Hilbert, KIT Microscopy of a nucleus: Transcription factories are colored orange, activated genes light blue.Molecular Systems Biology: How Cells Correctly Choose Active Genes

Cells have to control precisely which genes they use to avoid wild cell growth or even cancer. Researchers have now found that the formation of transcription factories in cells resembles the condensation of liquids: liquid-coated areas of the genome allow for the adhesion of relevant gene sequences and additional molecules that eventually activate the adhering genes. “Our work shows how the biological cell organizes such processes rapidly and reliably. The computer simulations and functional concepts developed by us can be transferred directly to artificial DNA systems and can support their design,” says Lennart Hilbert, one of the corresponding authors.

Molecular Systems Biology
Wüste von Dyngjusandur, IslandMeasurement campaign: Climate impact of dust particles from deserts in Iceland

The cold deserts in the far north are also among the dust sources that affect climate. In the Arctic, they influence cloud formation, glacier melt due to sedimentation, and the ocean's carbon uptake. Martina Klose took part in a measurement campaign in the Icelandic desert Dyngjusandur. "We want to find out how dust particles are emitted and transported and how they influence cloud formation," says the climate researcher. Due to their volcanic and glacial origin, in particular large particles likely differ in porosity and shape from dust from other deserts. This could affect how long dust particles remain suspended in the air.

Solid state batteryBMBF Project: Alternative Anode Concepts for Safe Solid State Batteries (ALANO)

Solid state batteries can advance electro mobility: Lithium metal as the anode material and a solid state electrolyte (SSE) make it possible to increase the energy density and thus extend the range of electric cars. "The safety will also significantly improve, as the battery cells no longer contain liquid and easily combustible components," explains Dominic Bresser. "In addition, the robustness of the cells increases, making handling, cooling and system integration easier." In the joint project coordinated by the BMW PLC, partners from science and industry are looking at the entire value chain: from the selection of materials to processing and scaling to recycling.

Press info
Christian Greiner develops multimodal in-situ tribometryFull professorship for former YIN speaker, Emmy and ERC awardee Christian Greiner

In September 2021, Christian Greiner has been appointed Professor for Additive Manufactured Components and Microstructural Design at KIT. Congratulations! He had joined YIN with his Emmy-Noether group on “Size effects and microstructure evolution in textured metal surfaces during reciprocating sliding” in 2012. Soon afterwards, he became actively engaged first as speaker of the transdisciplinary committee and in 2015 and 2016 as representative speaker. Securing an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017, he was greatly appreciated as senior member and adviser within the network. As professor and YIN alumnus, he will now continue his research on materials under tribological load at KIT.

Stadtnahe Wälder in KarlsruheStudy shows: Urban forests as cultural ecosystems reduce corona stress

In Karlsruhe and Rheinstetten, the number of forest visits increased significantly during the COVID 19 pandemic. Urban and peri-urban natural spaces have contributed significantly to subjective well-being, especially in a time of confinement and restriction, says Somidh Saha. He is the lead author of the study on the importance of forests as cultural ecosystems, published in the internationally respected periodical Sustainable Cities and Society. While respondents made more use of nearby sites, they placed a higher value on forests close to cities. The participatory mapping method used is also suitable for incorporating the needs of the population into the planning of urban forests.

Dominik BresserCarus Medal of the Leopoldina goes to battery researcher Dominic Bresser

For his outstanding achievements in battery research, Dominic Bresser receives the Carus Medal of the Leopoldina – National Academy of Sciences. The physical chemist develops alternative electrode materials and electrolyte systems for lithium-based batteries and related technologies. He, thus, contributes to improving energy storage, making it more sustainable and expanding the range of storage technologies. Among the recipients of the Carus Medal are four subsequent Nobel Prize winners: biochemist Jacques Monod, biologist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, physicist Stefan Hell and, most recently, biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier.

Leopoldina press info
Bestnote für zwei HYIGsTop marks for two evaluated Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups

Christian Grams (l.) and Ulrich Paetzold (r.) received the top grade "With extraordinary success" in the evaluation of their Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups. The Council for Research and Promotion of Young Scientists (CRYS) and the KIT Executive Board thus certified that both have conducted their research with outstanding quality and developed an independent scientific profile. Christian Grams investigates the large-scale variability of weather patterns over Europe in order to improve sub-seasonal weather forecasts beyond 2 weeks. Ulrich Paetzold looks into advanced optics and new materials for the next-generation perovskite photovoltaics.


KIT news (intranet)
Helle Erdhummel (Bombus lucorum) auf Distel am Kreuzeck, Garmisch-Partenkirchen.Impact of climate change and alterations in land use on European bumble bees

Bumblebees make an essential contribution to the pollination of crops. Researchers at KIT and in Italy have now calculated the potential distribution of 47 European bumblebee species for the years 2050 and 2080 for seven scenarios. "It became clear that climate change poses an existential threat to many bumblebee species. However, some rare species in particular are just as severely affected by changes in land use in some scenarios," says Penelope Whitehorn. Climate protection and intelligent land management could nevertheless contribute to the stabilisation of some bumblebee species under moderate climate change.

verbesserte Bildgebungsverfahren von RohrleitungenAutomation in Construction: Documenting pipelines via smartphone

A new, automated imaging method improves the current error margin in the progress of on-site pipeline work by about 70 percent. "At the same time, it reduces the overall time for data collection and analysis on site by about 30 percent," says Reza Maalek, whose team developed the new method in collaboration with the University of Calgary. To do this, the researchers use videos taken with a smartphone with an optimal number of frames to obtain sufficient accuracy. The data is evaluated using point clouds from which the pipes are automatically detected to digitally document the progress of pipeline work as well as the existing pipes.

Automation in Construction
A naturally regenerated seedling of aspen growing on burned stumps of Scots pine ZDF planet e. When forests burn - with Somidh Saha on August 8, 16:30

Persistent drought increases the risk of forest fires. The aim of the interdisciplinary project "Expansion of ecological, silvicultural, and technical knowledge on forest fires" (ErWiN) is to identify and contain areas at risk and to sustainably reforest burnt forests. Researchers of the KIT, the Institute of the Fire Brigade of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Thünen Institute in Brandenburg are involved. The ZDF science magazine planet e. shows the devastating effects of large forest fires on ecosystems and asks for protective measures. Somidh Saha develops e.g. silvicultural strategies for the regeneration of fire-damaged stands.

ZDF planet e.
Blick aus dem Messflugzeug HALOmeasurement campaign on radiation properties and climate effects of ice clouds

Cirrus clouds are thin clouds of ice at high altitudes. They form naturally over the Arctic or artificially in mid-latitudes, for example through air traffic. The aim of the CIRRUS-HL campaign is to better understand their effects on the climate. Emma Järvinen's group investigates how the radiation properties of Arctic cirrus clouds and contrail cirrus clouds differ. A measuring instrument specially developed for this purpose at KIT was now on board the HALO research plane. The ice crystals of the clouds reflect sunlight, but also radiation coming from the Earth. The results contribute to improving climate models and to developing more climate-friendly flight shedules.

grainRediscovering ancient grain varieties for the sustainable production of organic food

May ancient grain varieties grown organically and artisanal baked improve digestive tolerance? In the project ReBIOscover funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Katharina Scherf and her colleagues want to find the answer. While cereals are among the most important nutrient suppliers worldwide, they also contain gluten and other immunoreactive components. Though only 4 % of Germans are diagnosed with dietary intolerance, about 20 % try to avoid cereals due to health issues. The main causes might be differences in highly bred cultivars and changed manufacturing procedures as many consumers report better tolerance of artisanal baked goods.

project discription
Perowskit-Tandem-SolarmodulOpen source tool simulates energy yield of complex photovoltaic modules

Perovskite-based tandem solar cells are already achieving record efficiencies of up to 29.5 percent in the laboratory. However, the novel component architectures make the calculation of energy yield more complex. Ulrich W. Paetzold and his team have, therefore, developed an Energy Yield Calculator (EYcalc). This software uses real irradiation data and takes variable parameters into account, such as location, installation angle and the position of the sun, in order to determine the annual energy yield with hourly resolution. The open-source tool is suitable for all conventional, but above all also for highly complex solar cell architectures.

EYcalc on GitHub
Emin Azad Experte for meat substitutesFood processing engineer Emin Azad is KIT expert for sustainable meat substitutes

High meat consumption not only has a negative impact on animals and humans, but also on the environment and climate. One solution are plant-based foods, especially proteins from sustainable sources, as a meat alternative, says food process engineer Emin Azad. Vegan substitute products should be as similar as possible to real meat in appearance, smell, taste, and texture. The focus is on protein-rich foods based on soybeans, wheat, and peas, but also on fibre-rich press residues from the fruit and vegetable production. He is also conducting research into powder made from insects as a protein-rich flour substitute.

Neuronale Netze ermöglichen präzise Materialsimulationen – bis hinunter auf die Ebene einzelner AtomeNature Materials: Machine learning accelerates material simulations

Research, development, and production of new materials depend on fast and at the same time accurate simulation methods. For this, a high degree of precision over various time and size scales – from the atom to the material – with limited computational effort is essential. "Compared to conventional methods based on classical or quantum mechanical calculations, a significant speed advantage can be achieved with neural networks specifically tailored to material simulations," says first author Pascal Friederich. The combination of machine learning and molecular mechanics methods could speed up material simulations even further in the future.

press info
SoftwareForschungLehre: Appeal for sustainable support of research software

Artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, or the evaluation of huge amounts of data - software plays an increasingly important role for scientific success. However, the lifespan of scientific software projects is usually limited: unlike large-scale research equipment, there is a lack of funding offers for further development and sustainable provision. As Hartwig Anzt and Axel Loewe explain in the magazine Forschung&Lehre, Germany lags behind other research locations in this respect. Higher recognition for software developers and long-term prospects for the software engineering profession would be crucial.

Opinion article in F1000Research
kraftstoffe-20160229-CN-09-005_webCan science learn from machine-learning? / AI for developing energy materials

Machine learning algorithms find recurring patterns in the data they process and use them to make predictions. Instead of focusing on numerical accuracy, Pascal Friederich inquires what patterns and correlations machine learning models actually detect. Together with German and Canadian colleagues, he extracts scientific hypotheses obtained by machine learning models using a graph representation which directly relates to real physical entities. Furthermore, within the newly established German-Canadian Materials Acceleration Centre, his research group AiMat will develop machine learning methods to simulate new materials for climate-neutral energy technologies.

Friederich et al. Mach. Learn.: Sci. Technol. 2
YIN Grants 2021YIN Grants 2021 for innovative research ideas in chemistry and economics

In an internal competition, YIN each year awards the most innovative research proposals. With the YIN Grants comes a small start-up budget for testing and further developing promising ideas. The best proposal is further recognized with the YIN Award signed by the vice-president for research. This year, the award goes to Claudia Bizzari and Somidh Saha. Their idea is to benchmark artificial photosynthesis by comparing it to the natural process. Julian Thimme likewise received a YIN Grant for his machine learning approach to high frequency macroeconomic data and Zbigniew Pianowski for developing biocompatible hydrogels for 3D printing with light.

YIN Grants
First KIT Excellent TenureFirst group leader appointed W1-Prof within the KIT Excellent Tenure program

The KIT Excellent Tenure measure is intended to considerably increase the number of tenure-track professorships. KIT plans to recruit ten junior research group leaders of the highest international level every year. Ulrich Paetzold has become the first independently recruited group leader who was provided a reliable career path as tenure track professor at KIT. Simultaneously, he continues to lead his Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Advanced Optics and Materials for Next Generation Photovoltaics. He is, furthermore, involved in multiple BMWi projects and publishes in highly renown scientific papers like Nature Energy, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, or Advanced Funktional Materials.

Perowskit-SolarmodulePerovskite solar modules: High efficiency over a large area with a thin layer

From cell to module without forfeiting efficiency? Ulrich Paetzold's team has now produced perovskite solar modules with an efficiency of 16.6% on an area of 50 square centimetres - and even 18% on four square centimetres. This makes the thin-film solar modules competitive with established photovoltaic technologies. The basis is an innovative process that combines vapor deposition of the solar cell layers in a vacuum with series interconnection of the cells by means of laser engraving. The researchers receive financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the EU's Horizon 2020 framework program.

press info
Numerical modeling of cardiac electrophysiology at the cellular scaleEuropean project MICROCARD for numeric cardiac modeling on cellular scale

In the multidisciplinary project, 10 European partners join forces to simulate the electro-physiology of the human heart on cellular level. The new modeling tool will improve the understanding of cardiovascular diseases such as arrhythmia and the use of computer simulations for diagnosis and therapy. The Helmholtz group led by Hartwig Anzt will develop high performance numerical solvers adapted to the specific problem and the simulation ecosystem. Whereas, Axel Loewe's group leads the software integration, provision, and dissemination efforts. The 5.8-million-euro project is jointly funded by the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking and the national funding agencies.

3. Platz beim NEULAND Innovationswettbewerb für Grimm und BiedermannWith innovative neurotransmitter detection on place 3 in NEULAND ideas competition

With the NEULAND innovation competition, KIT promotes original ideas and technologies on the way to spin-offs. This year, the third prize went to Emmy Noether group leader Frank Biedermann and his PhD student Laura Grimm. The two are working on the detection of neurotransmitters in biologically relevant media using fluorescent zeolite-based receptors. Their goal is to further develop neurotransmitter sensor technology in such a way that patients can test their own neurotransmitter levels at home - without the need for costly laboratory diagnostics. This would, for example, help people suffering from depression to adjust their medication according to their needs.

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YIN Insight CoverJournal YIN Insight on 2nd KIT Development Act, 12-year-rule, facts, figures, and faces

In this edition of YIN Insight, the Hot Topic focuses on the 2nd KIT Further Development Act, which aims to unify the University Sector and the Large-Scale Research Sector – highlighting both the changes and opportunities for junior professors at KIT. With regard to changing laws and the pandemic, it seemed time to take a deep dive into the “12-year rule”, which affects many researchers on temporary contracts. The Scientific Highlights range from high-throughput drug screening with improved nuclear magnetic resonance, to restoring forests after fire, to exascale supercomputers. The Facts and Figures provide the current YIN metrics.

YIN Insight