7December 2022 ESRFnews
On 25 October, Mario Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister of Education and Research (BMBF), inaugurated the new BM18 beamline. BM18 is the ESRF s new flagship
beamline for hierarchical tomography using phase-contrast. Taking full advantage of the EBS, the 220 m-long beamline, equipped with the world s biggest synchrotron sample stage, can scan very large, heavy samples with exceptional accuracy, even down to the micron scale. It is already revolutionising scientific imaging, with applications in health, bio-imaging, materials science, palaeontology, archaeology and the geosciences. BM18 represents a 13m investment
by the ESRF s 21 partner countries, 6.3m of which is from Germany s BMBF. The Human Organ Atlas, a project led by University College London, with financial support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, was developed at the beamline. Brandenburg officially opened the
German representative inaugurates BM18
beamline alongside the ESRF director- general Francesco Sette; BM18 project leader Paul Tafforeau; Gabriele Fioni, Deputy Rector for Higher Education, Research and Innovation of the Academy of the Auvergne-Rhône- Alpes region in France; Helmut Dosch, Chair of the ESRF Council; and Norman Uhlmann, Division Director of Fraunhofer IIS-EZRT in Germany.
First users at ID29
ID29, a new EBS flagship beamline dedicated to serial crystallography, has welcomed its first users all of whom are investigating ways of scanning thousands of microscopic crystals with the new powerful X-ray beam.
Scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Switzerland are employing ultrasonic waves to levitate and rotate a film dispensed with tiny crystals in the hope that it will enable them to study samples at room temperature that are difficult to purify, such as membrane proteins. Meanwhile, scientists from the Technical Applied University of Lübeck in Germany have been testing a new tapedrive , on which fresh microcrystals are continuously applied in the fashion of a fountain pen, to time- resolve structural changes induced by light activation, ligand mixing or pH change, very fast and with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Finally, users from the Instituto de Química Física Rocasolano (IQFR-CSIC) in Spain have been trialling a vertical injector set-up to study multiple crystals of 5 10 microns in a high-viscosity medium. It is a privilege to be able to be one of the first to exploit the capabilities of this new beamline, says José Manuel Martín García of the IQFR-CSIC. We re delighted with the data.
IndTech in Grenoble
The biennial European Conference on Industrial Technologies was hosted by the CEA in Grenoble, France, in June, with a focus on digital and green strategies for development. An EU Presidency event, IndTech2022 brought together representatives from the ESRF, alongside those from the Central European Research Infrastructure Forum; the Extreme Light Infrastructure; the League of Accelerator-based Photon Sources; Fraunhofer EZRT; the Aerosol, Clouds and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure; the European Magnetic Field Laboratory; the European Spallation Source; and the Institut Laue-Langevin.
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(From left) Sette, Tafforeau, Fioni, Brandenburg, Dosch and Uhlmann.
ESRF applauds Nobels The ESRF has joined the scientific community in congratulating Anton Zeilinger, Alain Aspect and John F. Clauser for winning the Nobel Prize in Physics for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science ; and Svante Pääbo, for winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution . The work of Zeilinger, Aspect
and Clauser had a huge impact on fundamental physics in the late 20th
century, showing that quantum objects appear to act on one another instantaneously at a distance a phenomenon known as entanglement that led to super-powerful quantum computers, super-secure quantum communications and super-sensitive quantum detectors. Meanwhile, the work of Pääbo on the genetic code of Neanderthals some of which inspired and informed an in-house ESRF project (see Ancestral insight , below) has been instrumental in our understanding of human evolutionary history, and how humans spread around the planet.
Ancestral insight Scientists are keen to know how Neanderthal proteins differ from those in modern humans, and why those differences matter. In 2018, Pääbo collaborated with ESRF structural biologists to study one such protein, adenylosuccinate lipase, at the ID29 and ID30A-3 beamlines. The results gave new insights into how the protein is implicated in human conditions such as autism, seizures and muscle-wasting (Sci. Rep. 8 18008).
Pääbo s work on Neanderthal genetics has been instru- mental in our understanding of human evolution
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