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Cluster of Excellence

The world is not static. This simple perception directly leads to one of the greatest and most exciting challenges of contemporary science: observing the movement of the elementary building blocks of nature.

Ultrafast Processes in Slow Motion

Atoms, molecules and electrons move, form bonds between each other and break apart unimaginably fast. Scientists at “The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging” (CUI) want to observe and understand these ultrafast processes directly on the atomic level of detail, so that maybe, one day, they will even be able to control them systematically.

Since this undertaking will require the expertise of many disciplines, scientists from physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine have joined forces under the umbrella of the cluster of excellence. Thereby teams of Universität Hamburg cooperate with teams of Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD), the European XFEL GmbH (XFEL), and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

In addition to the study of fundamental processes in the field of photon and nanoscience, a central aspect of the cluster of excellence is a state-of-the-art education of young scientists with a special focus on equal opportunities and family friendly structures. Furthermore, CUI is very active at the interface with society and for example offers an extensive program within its school lab.

The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging has been funded since November 1, 2012, within the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State governments.

The above photo shows the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) on Campus Bahrenfeld where part of the cluster’s scientists do their research (Credit: CUI, Adler). The photo of the construction site for the HARBOR research building (left) leads to a webcam (Credit: Sprinkenhof / Nickl & Partner Architekten).