It’s both a blessing and a curse: every year, the summer monsoon causes devastating floods in southern Asia, while simultaneously bringing the rain required by fields and plants. Its role in the global climate system is still largely unknown, but new measurement data are set to change that. A European research team headed by Jülich scientists investigated the monsoon at high altitudes for the first time in Nepal in July and August. Special instruments on board the research aircraft M55-Geophysica recorded trace gases and small particles at altitudes of up to 20 km. The measuring campaign is part of the EU project StratoClim. The results are expected to permit more reliable climate forecasts in future.
Blogpost by Corinna Kloss
– Jülich Supercomputing Centre –
Scientists from Jülich and Aachen have discovered a phenomenon similar to the laser effect with which the structure of organic molecules can be examined at unprecedented levels of precision. This “raser” (radiowave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) uses radio waves instead of light to excite proton spins in molecules – permitting a precise fingerprint of their structure to be analysed. In contrast to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which is usually used for such analyses, this raser does not need a vacuum or low temperatures or strong magnetic fields.
– Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics –
Nerve cells in the brain migrate along ordered pathways. Researchers from Heidelberg, Jülich, and Aachen have discovered that the “happy hormone” serotonin plays a key role in this: once formed in the brainstem, it is distributed throughout the brain in a targeted manner, functioning as a sort of bait for nerve cells. The researchers were able to show that nerve cells grow along these pathways quickly and in a targeted manner – but only if the cells contained a receptor for serotonin.
– Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine –
The European Research Council has awarded Starting Grants to three Jülich researchers, providing funding to excellent early-career scientists: junior professor Dörte Rother and Prof. Julia Frunzke (both biotechnologists) and nanotechnologist Dr. Christian Wagner (from left to right). The grant recipients will receive up to € 1.5 million over the next five years in order to conduct basic research. Julia Frunzke is concerned with bacterial viruses, called “phages”. Dörte Rother develops light-controlled enzyme cascades for the tailored production of active-substance molecules and Christian Wagner investigates how molecules can be manipulated using a low-temperature scanning probe microscope (see also here).
… that’s how much can be stored in one litre of the organic LOHC carrier liquid dibenzyltoluene. Researchers from Jülich and Erlangen have now halved the technical and financial expense required to do so: the LOHC can now be loaded and unloaded using a single apparatus. Previously, two different devices were necessary. Hydrogen can store surplus energy from renewable sources such as sunlight and wind for later use. Safe and efficient processes for this storage system are an important building block for the transformation of the German energy sector (Energiewende).
– Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy Production –
It just keeps on running. For 10 years now, a ceramic high-temperature fuel cell developed by Jülich scientists has been generating electricity as part of a lifetime test – a new record! This type of fuel cell achieves outstanding efficiencies and is considered particularly low-maintenance. Jülich’s record also shows that it is stable in the long term.
The aim of the EU project DEEP-EST is to develop a novel, modular supercomputer – tailored to highly complex programs. According to the building block principle, the computer will combine different computing modules, for example to analyse large volumes of data. A prototype is expected to be completed by 2020.
An international team of scientists has succeeded in deactivating the PIN1 enzyme, which plays a key role in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Tests in cells and living systems showed that the deactivation of the enzyme inhibits the growth and spreading of cancer cells.
Images: Forschungszentrum Jülich/ C. Heßelmann, Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau, Forschungszentrum Jülich/Ralf-Uwe Limbach, dani daniar/Shutterstock, Syda Productions/Shutterstock