05/02/2016

The young scientist Franziska Fischer explores the synthesis of co-crystals. Here the chemist is working on a Raman laser.

The young scientist Franziska Fischer explores the synthesis of co-crystals. Here the chemist is working on a Raman laser.

Source: BAM, photo: Michael Danner

Franziska Fischer examines co-crystals at BAMs branch Adlershof – using every conceivable rays. She wrote her doctoral thesis at BAM and graduated with success.

Franziska Fischer clamps a cup, about the size of a Kinder Surprise egg, into an apparatus. It is about to vibrate very quickly and inside it will jingle softly. This really does look like a toy. However, the vessel has been constructed in our own workshop especially for experiments like this. It is transparent, that is new.

While two substances are mechanically ground in it and may combine, laser or X-ray equipment can watch. Light waves find their way through the perspex wall. The chemist Fischer just uses a Raman laser. There is nothing hidden. "An optimal technology backdrop", says the scientist. Everything is supervised by experts, each measurement supported by experienced researchers. "Especially Ph.D. students are the beneficiaries." There are about 150 young scientists alone in chemistry in Adlershof.

Franziska Fischer working in situ looks directly at what happens at the crystalline and molecular level. How exactly are co-crystals formed? Does the synthesis take place immediately, in two minutes or take 20? This is the basic research. She must understand the process. Co-crystals are tremendously important in pharmaceutics. "There is a clear potential for the application," says the chemist. It's about future active agent combinations. Agricultural research also desires this information.

Franziska Fischer has undertaken 1040 synthesis experiments and found 15 new co-crystals. They were detected by Raman, X-ray diffraction or even synchrotron radiation. "Bessy II" is finally right next door. BAM chemists have several firmly reserved measuring weeks a year. Each allotted minute is thoroughly used. Where else is such a "beamline" available to Ph.D. students practically free, asks Franziska Fischer. The Ph.D. students also report their results at regular seminars and presentations.