Shock BAG

The Shock BAG (block allocation group) is a community-driven mode of access dedicated to the study of materials under rapid and extreme loading at beamline ID19 of the ESRF. The Shock BAG is pooling together shared equipment, personnel and expertise to underpin and enhance the science at the intersection of X-rays and dynamically-compressed matter. It is built upon the dedicated gas-gun, Hopkinson bar platforms, and multi-MHz X-ray imaging scheme, offering these proven tools and expertise to grow the high-rate and shock user community at ESRF. Being among the most demanding techniques in terms of need for pure photon flux density, these techniques highly benefit from the recently installed Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS). In addition, the Shock-BAG should develop further a home community for emergent techniques, such as pulsed power-, laser- and explosive-drive, which share similar challenges and diagnostic needs. The combination of these research tools will enable the users’ community to generate and probe the properties of matter at extreme conditions, from damage in composites panels, to the physics of earthquakes, to the formation of asteroids in the early solar system.

The standard access mode does not make the best use of the growth in popularity of dynamic loading research at ESRF. Setting-up and tearing-down these platforms multiple times per year is an inefficient use of beamtime, and would drastically limit overall exposure of the high-rate and shock community to advanced X-ray science. In addition, the technical logistics of performing a successful, synchronised dynamic loading experiment are not yet standardised – new users would see an enormous experience gap under the current access model, which would both demotivate and delay time to publication. Furthermore, maintaining and handling sophisticated installations such as gas gun or Split-Hopkinson pressure bar cannot be carried out by the ESRF beamline staff alone.

Through the Shock BAG regular access to beamline ID19 (once every 6 months, one week of beamtime using the timing mode 16bunch) is provided for a 3-year period (2022 - 2025) to the partners.

Available techniques and platforms:

  • Single-stage gas gun :
    • utilises high-pressure helium gas to accelerate projectiles to velocities nearing 1 km/s
    • equipped with a 25 mm bore: the system can be configured to carry-out a wide range of impact experiments on mm- to cm-scale targets
    • evacuated target chamber to achieve peak velocity performance
    • soft-capture capability for post-impact characterisation
    • For more information, see Escauriza, E. M. et al. Scientific Reports 10, (2020).
  • Split-Hopkinson Bars :
    • Pressure Bar: 1/2" (steel and aluminum) and 1/4" (steel) 1.3m input and 1.1m output bars. Stricker velocities: 5 – 30 m/sec. SHB spalling test setup is available. Direct impact SHB test is under construction.
    • Tension Bar: 16mm (aluminum) bars, up to 20 m/sec striker velocity. "Z constant" adapters to accommodate flat specimen is available.
    • For more information, see Cohen, A. et al. Journal of Instrumentation 14, T06008–T06008 (2019).
  • Mean X-ray photon energy: 30 keV
  • Indirect X-ray image detector with MHz acquisition rates (LYSO:Ce scintillator lens-coupled to a Shimadzu HPV-X2 FTCMOS-based camera)
  • Maximum field of view: 13 mm x 8 mm (pixel size of 32 µm)
  • Under development: laser-induced shock, pulsed power and energetic materials
  • 16 bunch filling mode (16 highly populated bunches spaced 176ns apart)
  • Imperial College London (Simon Bland, William Proud)
  • CEA (Arnaud Sollier)
  • 3SR (Pascal Forquin)
  • CNRS – ACO-CHOCOLAS (Thibault De Resseguier, Laurent Berthe)
  • First Light Fusion (Nick Hawker, Hugo Doyle)
  • Oxford University (Daniel Eakins, David Chapman, Clive Siviour)
  • Universita Pardubice (Jiri Pachman)
  • Helmholtz Zentrum Rossendorf (Jörg Grenzer)
  • University of Rostock (Dominik Kraus)
  • University Grenoble-Alpes (Francois Renard, Benoit Cordonnier)
  • Manchester University (Neil Bourne)
  • University Freiburg / Fraunhofer EMI: Georg Ganzenmüller
  • University of Southampton (Fabrice Pierron)
  • Nuclear Research Center Negev (Amitay Cohen, David Levi-Hevroni)
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Minta Akin)

All research pursued through the Shock-BAG is fundamental in nature and has no direct military application. 

As a partner of the BAG, you agree to follow the standard ESRF rules (safety, sample declaration, GDPR, travel rules, data policy, ...).

Useful links:

In particular, for each publication, please :

   -  Mention beamline ID19 on which you obtained data, the BAG program and acknowledge the assistance from ESRF staff. You can use a sentence such as:

We acknowledge the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility for provision of synchrotron radiation facilities and we would like to thank [xyz] for assistance in using beamline ID19 (proposal MI-1397, pilot of a BAG project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870313, Streamline).

    - Mention the DOI for the data measured at ESRF (beginning with "10.15151/") that is sent via email at the end of each experiment session to all participants of the session. It is also available from the Data Portal and User Portal for that session.

    - Cite the ESRF's address (in the case of an ESRF author) as follows: ESRF, The European Synchrotron, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, CS40220, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

    - Remember to register your publication in the Joint ESRF/ILL library database. Register directly through this link, or by sending an email with the publication reference to

    - Send your author version to the Joint ESRF/ILL Library administrator in the case your publication is not Open Access.

The Shock BAG coordination panel consists of:

  • Daniel Eakins, Oxford University, UK – gas gun spokesperson
  • Amitay Cohen, Nuclear Research Center Negev, Israel – Split-Hopkinson pressure bar spokesperson
  • Simon Bland, Imperial College London, UK – pulsed power spokesperson
  • William Proud, Imperial College London, UK – energetic materials spokesperson
  • Arnaud Sollier, CEA, France – lasers spokesperson
  • ESRF liaison: Alexander Rack

The Shock BAG coordinators can be reached via