Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich have access to extensive, highly specialized research infrastructures. Facilities such as the Helmholtz Nano Facility (HNF), the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons (ER-C) or the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) complement each other and, as world-class infrastructures, are also available to external researchers. In early 2022, with more than 5,000 qubits, Europe’s first quantum annealer started operations as part of JUNIQ, the Jülich user infrastructure for quantum computers.
On the roadmap of the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) are research infrastructures that are of importance for Europe, strategically and as regards research policy. These include EMPHASIS, for plant phenotyping, PRACE, for the network of European supercomputers, and IAGOS, for research into the Earth’s atmosphere – all of which are coordinated by Jülich. EBRAINS, the digital research infrastructure of the Human Brain Project (HBP), has also been on the ESFRI roadmap since 2021. The Ernst Ruska Centre 2.0 has been on the German roadmap for research infrastructures since 2019.
square metres of clean room of ISO classes 1-3 is provided by the HNF
The Helmholtz Nano Facility (HNF) provides scientists with instruments and knowledge for the production and research of nanostructures. Unique throughout Europe, the HNF is a research infrastructure for researching, producing and characterizing nanostructures and atomic structures for information technology. Work at the HNF focuses on quantum computing, the components of which are based on the laws of quantum mechanics and use qubits for computing.
As a state-of-the-art clean room facility with 1,000 m2 of clean room of ISO classes 1-3, the HNF offers resources in production, synthesis, characterization and the integration of structures, devices and circuits.
2021, in per cent
1) Bioelectronics: the combination of biological and electronic systems | Cell mechanics: behaviour of cells under different mechanical conditions | Nano-/microelectronics: electronic components with a very low energy requirement for processing or storing information | Energy technology: energy generation systems | Photovoltaics: converting light into energy/increasing the efficiency of solar cells | Microfluidics: behaviour of liquids in the smallest space | Quantum optics: systems for the interaction between light and matter | Quantum computing: circuits based on the laws of quantum mechanics | Neuromorphic computing: computers and circuits modelled on the brain
2021, in per cent
2) The usage of the HNF and the share of external users/companies was significantly lower in 2021 due to the corona-related access requirements applying to external users/companies.
facilities across Europefor plant phenotyping in the EMPHASIS database
European countries are members of the EMPHASIS Support Group
transnational research projects in EPPN2020 with scientists from 37 countries
The European Infrastructure for Multi-Scale Plant Phenomics and Simulation for Food Security in a Changing Climate (EMPHASIS) is a plant phenotyping infrastructure distributed across Europe. It undertakes to analyze and measure the external appearance of plants, such as the architecture of roots or the number of leaves. The development of the European infrastructure is being coordinated at the Jülich Institute of Bio- and Geosciences as part of the EU-funded EMPHASIS-PREP project. EMPHASIS supports scientists in studying plants in different environments so as to enable more efficient crop production in a changing climate, ensure food security in the future and initiate a sustainable European agricultural economy. Information systems for data collection and a platform with mathematical models are linked by EMPHASIS at a European level, knowledge and new technologies are shared and scientific education is supported. Thus, researchers from Europe are given access, for instance, to the facilities of the “Jülich Plant Phenotyping Center” (JPPC).
EMPHASIS builds on the EU research infrastructure projects EPPN/EPPN2020 and will expand the portfolio of phenotyping infrastructures, integrate national infrastructures and ensure sustainable and long-term use of the infrastructures.
Quantum computing and quantum annealing are considered the computing methods of the future when it comes to solving extremely complex problems. While there is still a long way to go before these technologies will be fully developed, the first experimental systems, prototypes and commercial devices can already be used today. The Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing(JUNIQ) provides users from Germany and Europe with access to various of these quantum machines. JUNIQ, which has been under construction since autumn 2019, thus permits science and industry early first steps into the practice of quantum computing. Since the beginning of 2022, JUNIQ has included a quantum annealer with more than 5,000 qubits from the company D-Wave. It is housed in the UNIQ building, which was built specifically for this purpose. Additional systems are located at Jülich while others are in partner facilities. The Jülich supercomputers, which can be linked to quantum systems, are also part of this infrastructure. Moreover, JUNIQ supports users in the development of algorithms and applications for quantum computing.
The Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) provides computing capacity of the highest performance class to scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich, at universities and research institutions in Germany and Europe as well as to the industry. The Centre also supports them in their research projects. It responds at short notice to new user requirements such as the use of cloud services or artificial intelligence (AI), interactive supercomputing or the development of concepts and services for long-term data curation. 1)
Computing time projects peer-reviewed by an independent panel of experts
|Europe (without Germany)||220|
|Countries outside Europe||50|
Since the introduction of the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, the systems operated at the JSC have always been among the 20 fastest on this list. Along with the JURECA system, JUWELS is a system that, together with a GPU-based booster module, currently provides a computing power of 85 quadrillion computing operations per second (85 petaflops 2)). At the end of 2021, a research team was able to show that the JUWELS booster is the fastest AI supercomputer in Europe.
Energy efficiency (flops per watt) plays an increasingly important role in the operation of high-performance and supercomputers. The JUWELS booster available at Jülich is one of the most energy-efficient systems in the world. It is used for a wide range of applications, from basic research to climate and materials research to life and engineering sciences.
In June, Forschungszentrum Jülich – a partner in the German Gauss Centre for Supercomputing – was selected to be the site of the first European exascale computer. The supercomputer is expected to break the limit of 1 trillion computing operations per second, which is a one with 18 zeros. The system will be procured by the European supercomputing initiative EuroHPC JU (European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking). The exascale computer will help solve major and pressing scientific questions concerning, for instance, climate change, pandemic response and sustainable energy production. It will also enable the intensive use of artificial intelligence and big data analysis.
1) Activities required to maintain research data over the long term so that it remains available for reuse and retention.
2) The computing power of computer systems is expressed in floating point operations per second (FLOPS). This value indicates how many floating point number operations (additions or multiplications) can be performed by a system in one second.
Pro rata, as of November 2021
The Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) operates neutron scattering instruments at top sources in Germany, Europe and globally, offering them to a large user community. Neutrons serve as microscopic probes to conduct research in the fields of soft and condensed matter, biosciences and energy materials. Neutron research provides important contributions to meeting the major challenges that society is facing, for example with research into modern, high-performance materials for energy storage or in environmental analysis.
Together with its partners, the JCNS designs, builds and installs new instruments at neutron sources, such as for the European Spallation Neutron Source ESS in Lund, Sweden, or for a future high brilliance accelerator-based neutron source (HBS).
2021, in days
|1–3 days||0 %|
|4–7 days||92 %|
|8-15 days||8 %|
2021, in per cent1)
2021, in per cent
1) The FRM II reactor at the MLZ was not in operation in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a technical issue. The figures refer to the operation of the JCNS instruments at ILL, which do not cover all research areas.
The Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons (ER-C) is the national research infrastructure for ultra-high resolution electron microscopy. It is jointly operated by Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University. The electron optical instruments provided and further developed by the ER-C can be used to investigate and describe structures at the atomic and molecular levels. The knowledge gained helps, for example, to develop innovative materials and to investigate medical substances. With PICO, the ER-C has one of only three electron microscopes in the world available for this purpose that, in addition to spherical aberration, can correct the second important lens error: chromatic aberration. In the ER-C 2.0 project, the Centre’s infrastructure is being specifically expanded as part of the national roadmap for research infrastructures.
The ER-C creates incentives for companies working with novel materials and technologies to settle in the Rhineland region and contribute to the development of a competence region for innovative materials technologies and, ultimately, to the success of structural change.
2021, in per cent
2021, in per cent
2021, in Prozent
EBRAINS is a new digital research infrastructure created as part of the EU-funded Human Brain Project (HBP). The aim is to promote brain research and the translation of scientific findings into innovations in brain-inspired computing, medicine and industry. To this end, multidisciplinary neuroscience works closely with the developers of state-of-the-art information technologies and uses powerful computers to assemble the ever-growing knowledge about the brain from different research fields.
Being the first research infrastructure of its kind in the world, EBRAINS offers access through a web portal to the most comprehensive database on the human brain to date as well as to powerful digital tools, for example for simulation or AI-based analytical methods. The “EBRAINS Computing Services”, coordinated by the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, form the computationally powerful basis of EBRAINS and make it possible to integrate platforms and solutions from the various EBRAINS services into complex workflows. The offer also includes the extremely high-resolution 3D atlas of the human brain developed by the Jülich Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, supercomputing methods specially developed for neuroscientists and “neuromorphic” computers inspired by the brain.
As of April 2022
Coordinates the Jülich contributions to the European Spallation Source ESS (the world’s most powerful neutron source)
Pools the imaging methods of neurosciences and medicine
Combines infrastructure and expertise on atomic-resolution structural biology methods
Operates state-of-the-art photoemission spectroscopes and photoemission electron microscopes at the synchrotron sources DESY (Hamburg), ELETTRA (Trieste, Italy) and BESSY (Berlin)
Particle accelerator and storage ring (for generating proton and deuteron beams)
For researching processes in the atmosphere
With ultra high-field spectroscopy for structural biology
For developing membrane systems for new energy-efficient technologies
For materials research in energy technologies
Makes data from all European Earth system research freely accessible worldwide via the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)
Technology laboratory on the quantum computing research spectrum, from quantum materials to quantum computer systems
Images:Forschungszentrum Jülich/Axer et al., Forschungszentrum Jülich/ Sascha Kreklau, Forschungszentrum Jülich/Ralf-Uwe-Limbach