Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB) was founded in 2009 by the merger of the former Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin GmbH (HMI) and the Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung GmbH (BESSY). Being a member of the Helmholtz Association, HZB is publicly funded. It has approximately 1100 employees. HZB collaborates with over 400 German and international institutions of higher learning, research institutions, and commercial enterprises. All Institutes and departments in the HZB research divisions are headed by professors holding joint appointments. The Research Divisions are complemented by Young Investigator Groups as well as joint research groups, and Joint Laboratories operated in conjunction with academic institutions. With the Competence Centre Thin-Film- and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB), HZB offers companies and industrial partners a unique point of contact. In joint research and development projects, technological advancements in the field of photovoltaics and solar fuels are sustainably promoted. HZB furthermore offers industrial partners access to the experimental opportunities at the synchrotron source BESSY II, and promotes technology transfer in accelerator development.

HZB concentrates on energy materials research, methods and instruments for conducting research with soft X-ray radiation, as well as accelerator research and development. A strategic goal of HZB is to maximise the impact of its photon-based capabilities and expertise on the achievement of the goals of energy materials research. Here, the focus is on thin film functional materials for energy conversion, energy storage and future energy-efficient information technologies. Accelerator research at HZB focusses on the development of efficient accelerator technologies and designs as well as superconducting cavities. HZB is operating two large-scale facilities – the research reactor BER II (to be shut down by the end of 2019) and the photon source BESSY II – for the international scientific user community. BESSY II is a 3rd generation synchrotron radiation source focusing on the VUV / soft X-ray regime. Both large-scale facilities serve an international user community with in total more than 3,500 user visits per year. By integrating its energy materials research with the operation of dedicated infrastructures, HZB aims at exploiting synergies and creating a unique research environment. The upgrade of BESSY II to a variable pulse length storage ring (BESSY VSR) will provide researchers with new opportunities to study dynamic processes in energy materials, thus laying the ground for a targeted development of new functional materials.