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News Archive 2021
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.

Interview and contact
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