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Step by Step: Booking beamtime

Tell us the problem you need to solve. We’ll find the right beamline and work with you to define the experiment.

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

For macromolecular experiments, you should contact the MX Industrial Co-ordinator to agree on the date(s) and number of shifts.  The MX Industrial Co-ordinator will inform the BDO.

We’ll send you a quotation for the work you need, along with our terms and conditions.

Single experiment

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

Multiple experiments

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 hours of beam time as you wish - however it will reduce considerably your (and our) paperwork.

We cannot proceed with the administrative procedures, thereby blocking your experiment, until you return this quotation.

You should sign and return the Acknowledgment (last) page of the quotation, and send us a purchase order.

When we have the signed Acknowledgment and Purchase Order from you and the confirmed date from the ESRF scientist, we will create your experiment number (if you are a new user) and then send you a formal Invitation to conduct the experiment.

We’ll ask you to provide identification and contact information for everyone who will participate in the experiment, whether Remotely [or On-Site] or Mail-in, via the A Form. This step must be completed preferably 2 weeks before your arrival date.

We require each experimenter to follow a brief online safety training.
 The type of safety training varies, depending on the details of the experiment.

We’ll ask for complete information on your sample(s), so that we can evaluate any safety concerns. This step must be completed as early as possible (minimum 10 days before the start of the experiment) via the A Form.

[For onsite experiments, follow the personalised instructions sent to you regarding arriving onsite, accessing the beamline, and so on. Bring all requested identification documents and the name and phone number of the scientist assigned to your experiment (your Local Contact).]

Send sample shipments to the ESRF Stores using our shipment software. Do not send samples directly to your Local Contact - they will be refused at the Stores and returned to you immediately. Very specific requirements apply to shipment/transportation of biological samples.

For users of the Macromolecular Crystallography beamlines: After agreement with airport security and the Lyons airport customs police, we have set in place a document which serves as an accompanying letter (.pdf file) when you are travelling home with your dewars or crystallisation trays. The letter (in French) must be signed by the person transporting the samples and the ESRF Biosafety officer (phone +33 (0)4 76 88 22 03). The English letter (.pdf file) is a copy for your information.

For experiments taking place during the week (Mon-Fri) the user must print out the letter when submitting the A-form and have it signed by the Biosafety officer. In case of any problems, please contact the Biosafety officer in advance (

For weekends and bank holidays the letter will be printed and prepared by the ESRF Safety officer and given to you personally with your Safety Approval Form (SAF) of the beamline. If you are not present when the ESRF Safety officer comes to the beamline, you must call the Experimental Hall Operator (EHO, phone 2525 ) who is present 24h/24h. If you need more than one letter, you must contact the ESRF Safety group ( in advance and let them know the names and addresses of the persons carrying the samples.

Attention: This letter for the airport security is only valid for going back from the ESRF to your home institute from Lyons airport. For problems during your travel to the ESRF, please contact the safety office in your home institute. If you have any other problems with biological samples travelling from France to your home country, please contact  the Biosafety officer at the ESRF (

If you have purchased hours of beam time and/or services to cover one particular experiment, once it has been completed, you will be sent an invoice.
If you have signed an "open" quotation, you will be invoiced at the end of the current trimester (or at the frequency you prefer), according to what you have used.