News in brief
News in brief
They look like jewellery from a glassblower: synthetic cells, simulated and artistically depicted on the computer. They serve as a model system for biological cells that can assume a wide variety of shapes when they move around or take up nutrients. Researchers from Jülich and Zurich have used the model to investigate how physical forces bring about the natural diversity of cell shapes and cell movements – the Jülich researchers with simulations, the Zurich researchers in the laboratory. The findings will support the employment of synthetic cells as miniature factories or microrobots in the future.
– Institute of Biological Information Processing –
A matter of shape
Oxygen is transported to the tissue throughout our body using red blood cells. These are filled with the protein haemoglobin, which binds and releases oxygen. Researchers from Australia, Sweden and Jülich have found in neutron scattering experiments that the shape of the blood cells influences the properties of haemoglobin, such as its mobility in the cell, which is important for the efficient exchange of oxygen.
– Jülich Centre for Neutron Science –
An international team led by Jülich researchers has discovered that microalgae store vital nitrogen in the form of tiny crystals called guanine. They can draw on this reserve in “hard times”. At the same time, this special form of storage prevents a harmful nitrogen surplus in the organism. The nitrogen balance of the microalgae is essential, among other things, for the phytoplankton to be able to remove vast amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. These wee plants are responsible for at least half of the CO2 that is absorbed worldwide through photosynthesis.
– Institute of Bio- and Geosciences –
Avoiding blackout – with data
On 8 January 2021, Central Europe was on the verge of a large-scale power blackout. Leonardo Rydin Gorjão from the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-STE) analyses data that are expected to help prevent such situations.
You have been involved in building a database of worldwide frequency measurements in power grids. What are its benefits?
Small frequency deviations occur in the power grid all the time. Thanks to our database, we can analyse these. This way, risks can be identified and control mechanisms improved in order to prevent excessive frequency interference and, thus, a blackout.
A first analysis of the data is available. What does it reveal?
Frequency interferences in the same grid at widely separated locations such as Istanbul, Karlsruhe and Lisbon influence each other. We have identified how quickly these disturbances subside. The analysis also shows that threatening fluctuations can occur especially in micro and island grids.
Why is it important that your data is publicly accessible?
In socially significant research areas in particular, it is important that all researchers can compare and review data. Open data also facilitates collaboration across disciplines and countries.
Frank Frick asked the questions.0
of biomass per year could potentially be processed into higher-value products in the Rhineland region. According to a study by Prognos AG, commissioned by the BioökonomieREVIER initiative, which itself is coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, this conversion of organic waste, green waste and residues from the food industry could create an important advantage in terms of location for the region between Aachen and Cologne.
– Rhineland initiative BioökonomieREVIER/Institute for Bio- and Geoscience –
53,900 people employed1
gross value added1
created by one job in agriculture & food science1
1.17 million t
1 Prognos AG, 2020: from agriculture and the production of food and beverages in 2016; data based on: Destatis 2019, Federal Employment Agency 2019
2 Prognos AG, 2020: data based on: LANUV 2020, NRW Chamber of Agriculture 2017, Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Environmental and Biotechnology 2012.
The winners of the Clusters4Future ideas competition are considered to be the new flagships of the national “High-Tech Strategy 2025”. Forschungszentrum Jülich is involved in two of the seven selected future clusters: one is all about hydrogen as an energy carrier, while the other cluster, called Neurosys, is all about biologically inspired chips for artificial intelligence. The regional networks are to ensure that innovations are incorporated more quickly into everyday life.
– Institute of Energy and Climate Research/Peter Grünberg Institute –
Reference for the nuclear detectives
The purpose of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is to ensure that countries do not secretly divert nuclear material for nuclear weapons. The IAEA relies on the internationally active Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL) to examine samples taken by inspectors on-site at nuclear facilities. The Jülich Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-6) has newly been added as a member of the network. Of the participating laboratories, it is the only one to supply uranium oxide reference particles, which are used to check the quality of NWAL analyses of wipe samples (pictured: Dr. Philip Kegler (left) and Dr. Stefan Neumeier).
– Institute of Energy and Climate Research –
Effect with deceptive fingerprint
The Kondo effect influences the electrical resistance of metals at low temperatures. It is significant for novel data processing concepts, such as for those using quantum dots. According to current theory, a scanning tunnelling microscope (right: schematic representation) provides unequivocal evidence of this effect by producing a characteristic spectroscopic fingerprint. Now, however, Jülich researchers have been able to show that this “distinguishing characteristic” is possibly caused by another phenomenon. Their conclusion: many findings pertaining to the Kondo effect need to be re-examined.
– Peter Grünberg Institute –
PHOTOS: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Forschungszentrum Jülich und ETH Zürich, j.chizhe/shutterstock.com, Anya Salih, University of Western Sydney, VIDEO: Forschungszentrum Jülich