The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of operational constraints that have to be applied to ESRF users and staff alike. The need for social distancing, as well as potential travel restrictions for users due to regulations adopted by the various national authorities and/or users’ institutions, have led to a preference for mail-in (also known as “non-MX remote”) experiments over the past months. In a mail-in experiment, samples are made available to the concerned ESRF beamline staff and the experiment is carried out via remote communication between the users and the local contact.

The workflow for mail-in experiments is significantly different from what you are used to for on-site experiments. Should you wish to try the mail-in service, our Mail-in information page helps you prepare, organise and run your experiment.

Otherwise follow the usual workflow below.


How to book IN experiment - Detailed instructions

IN experiment: all industrial on-site experiments that are not macromolecular crystallography experiments.

1. Agree on experiment date with Beamline Responsible

You should contact the scientist in charge of the beamline (Beamline Responsible) to agree on the date(s) and number of shifts. The Beamline Responsible will inform the BDO.

2. Quotation

If you wish to purchase shifts for one particular experiment, you will be sent a quotation for a specific number of shifts which, if you accept, should be signed and returned as soon as possible.

If, however, you plan to carry out several experiments, you will receive an "open" quotation that will cover all your experiments. You will be invoiced quarterly according to what you have used. The quotation is valid for 12 months as from the date of your first experiment. There is no obligation related to this quotation, you may use as few or as many shifts as you wish - however it will reduce considerably your (and our) paperwork.

3. Admin steps for your experiment

Creation of experiment number

If it is the first time that you come to the ESRF, the BDO will create your experiment number (IN-****) which, once attributed, is valid until further notice.


The BDO will then send you, as Main Contact ("Main Proposer") an Invitation with an "Experiment Protocol" by email which contains information on how to submit the A Form

A Form

There are instructions concerning the A Form that you will need to submit as Main Contact. The A Form is submitted to obtain site entrance, mandatory for all experiments. It is also used to request canteen card and accommodation, if required. Sample Sheets must be submitted with the A Form.

Sample Sheets

You will need to create and save Sample Sheets for each experiment session, then attach them to the A Form. It will not be possible to submit the A Form if you have not attached the Sample Sheets.

Sending your samples - ICAT     MANDATORY FOR ALL SHIPMENTS

If you send your samples instead of bringing them on site yourself, all samples, chemical products and equipment related to user experiments must be sent to the ESRF using our ICAT Sample Tracking software, and then via a registered courier company such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.

More information on ICAT here

Electronic Declaration

This is an electronic declaration that you need to Validate and Submit for each experiment.

On-line Safety Training

Once completed, this mandatory safety training is valid for one year. It shouuld be valid for all scientists in order to submit the A Form.

4. Payment

If you have purchased shifts to cover one particular experiment, once it has been completed, you will be sent an invoice.
If you have signed an "open" contract, you will be invoiced at the end of the current trimester, according to what you have used.