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National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center and Max Planck Institute Sign Memorandum of Understanding

The National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) and Max Planck Institute (MPI) hosted a signing ceremony on June 15. The joint signing ceremony was attended via videoconferencing by Deputy Minster Minn-Tsong Lin of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Director Gwo-Huei Luo of the NSRRC, and Director Liu-Hao Tjeng of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (MPI CPfS), and other colleagues. The event marks the third memorandum signing between Taiwan and Germany to expand the fields and scale of cooperation between the two countries and symbolize their long-term support and collaboration in advanced scientific research.

Max Planck Institute is a top global research institute with the reputation of being Germany’s cradle of science. Since 1948, the institute has produced 18 Nobel Laureates in the fields of physics, chemistry, and medicine; the institute’s exceptional research has resulted in more than 15,000 articles being published in well-known key journals each year.

In reality, MPI CPfS Director Liu-Hao Tjeng has been leading research teams to NSRRC since 1990 in order to conduct research on the electronic structure of strongly correlated materials by utilizing the unique Dragon Beamline and magnetic circular dichroism research facilities designed by Academician Chien-Te Chen. In 2011, both parties signed their first memorandum of understanding to further integrate Taiwan’s first-rate scientific resources and talent; MPI invested €2.7 million euros (approximately $90 million NTD) into the NSRRC’s “Taiwan Light Source” and SPring-8 beamlines. After more than two decades, they have co-authored more than 180 papers in top international academic journals.

In 2016, MPI became impressed by the exceptional light source and advanced facilities of “Taiwan Photon Source”, which had just been launched by NSRRC and both parties signed their second memorandum of understanding. The signing saw an additional investment of €1.5 million euros (approximately $50 million NTD) for the joint construction of a sub-micron soft X-ray spectroscopy beamline at Taiwan Photon Source. The beamline has been officially launched since May 2019 and allowed for advanced research of superconducting, nano, and magnetic materials. The project was a feat of technological diplomacy which integrated the cutting-edge technologies and concepts of both Taiwan and Germany in the design, construction, and use of experiment facilities.

In 2017, MPI established a Center for Complex Phase Materials in Taiwan in order to foster young scientists in the field of synchrotron radiation. Both Taiwan and Germany provide €400,000 euros (approximately $14 million NTD) annually to fund an exchange program; at the time, this program was a major breakthrough for Taiwan’s scientific community in terms of international cooperation, resulting in a solid foundation for cooperation between the two nations.

Today, a third memorandum of understanding is signed to enhance and deepen the partnership between both parties after years of fruitful research. MPI has decided on an additional investment of €1 million euros (approximately $33 million NTD) to construct a “high field magnet research facility” located upstream of the sub-micron soft x-ray spectroscopy beamline; an additional investment of €730,000 euros (approximately $24 million NTD) will be made to upgrade and maintain existing beamline experiment facilities.

A main feature of the strong high field magnet research facility is the ability to provide two magnetic fields perpendicular to each other. This shall facilitate the researches on the magnetic properties and electronic structure of highly correlated materials as well as the development of cutting-edge magnetic materials.

NSRRC is Taiwan’s largest shared research facility while MPI is a renowned international academic institution. A close collaboration between the two top research organizations with talents will undoubtedly result in synergy, benefit and expand the scientific collaboration networks of both countries, which is expected to provide a surge of energy for scientific development in Taiwan.