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In 2022, the personal touch both from the ESRF and from industry partners has been shown in a range of tools and methodologies designed and tailored for industry. These include services for X-ray fluorescence and X-ray powder diffraction (supported via the Horizon2020 project STREAMLINE), standardised approaches to strain measurements (via Horizon2020 project EASISTRESS), operando battery scanning using X-ray diffraction and tomography (Horizon2020 project TeesMAT) and strained semiconductor scanning using nano-X-ray diffraction and Raman scattering (Horizon2020 project nanoMECommons). The work in finalising the co-design and development of the new high-throughput powder diffraction service was done in collaboration with German multinational chemicals company BASF. The BASF team came to the ESRF with challenges we had to translate their needs to ESRF techniques and capacities and build the hardware and software processes needed. But the mutual understanding, trust and people involved on both sides set the grounds for the project to succeed. The service goes live in early 2023.
The InnovaXN Business and Entrepreneurship School
The ESRF is not only about working with industry in service mode on the beamlines. It is also about collaboration and partnership. This is epitomised in the InnovaXN COFUND PhD programme, which hosts almost 40 PhD students, each working with a partner company that drives the research using X-ray and neutron techniques with expert beamline scientists at the ESRF and the Institut Laue- Langevin (ILL), our sister institute on the EPN Campus. Complementing the science programme, the ESRF and ILL business teams worked closely with the Graduate Schools to run the first ever business and entrepreneurship school at the ESRF and ILL. Drawing upon business expertise, intellectual property rights (IPR) and start-up specialists from Grenoble and across Europe, the school took our PhD students on a journey through IPR rules and finance, to start-ups, tech licensing and next-generation industry,
with the aim to help equip them for careers in academia or industry. We hope to run a second edition of the school for our next students.
Out and about once more
With COVID-19 restrictions easing in 2022, the BDO team were once again able to attend conferences, B2B and company visits, as well as host company visits at the ESRF. Highlights for 2022 include the local CARAC workshop, an annual anchor for materials characterisation in the Grenoble area, which was hosted at the ESRF Visitor Centre. We were also delighted to work with colleagues at the ILL, GIANT and ESS for the Research Infrastructures Village at INDTECH2022, the two-yearly industry technology conference held as a European Union Presidency event. In 2022, it was held in Grenoble as part of the French presidency. Another collaboration saw the G-RADNEXT workshop, organised in partnership with the IRT NanoElec (Grenoble) and RADNEXT Horizon2020 project, on radiation hardness testing of semiconductor devices and systems an area rapidly growing in significance with the increase in space industry and heading towards driverless cars.
Bringing industry to the ESRF is challenging, and this year we opened beamlines BM05 and ID16B for a special Send your Sample Day , with industry able to apply to have a sample scanned using micro- or nano-CT to demonstrate ESRF techniques. The event promotion brought in a surprising amount of interest and requests from industries new to the ESRF indeed, samples are being run as we write these Highlights.