Highlights from the Soft Condensed Matter (SCM) Group and CRG beamlines show the large spectrum of scientific topics, which reaches into neighbouring disciplines such as materials science and in particular biological science. These results rely on a constant upgrade and refurbishment program of beamlines and annex facilities. Thus refractive lens optics are becoming an ubiquitous focusing tool at all SCM beamlines. The contribution by Schroer et al., shows that 50 nm focal spots by refractive optics has become a reality and a further reduction is technically possible. Such optics will initially find use at the ID13 beamline’s nanofocus extension hutch, which will be commissioned starting at the end of 2006. Promising results have also been obtained with the MEDIPIX 2 pixel detector chip on ID02/ID10A. Thanks to this, the dream of a large area detector with small pixel size, single photon counting capability, high dynamic range and submillisecond readout time is getting closer. The upgrade of SCM-laboratories with large-scale equipment, such as a Brewster angle microscope (ID10B), an optical microscope for micromanipulation (ID13) and a light-scattering setup (ID02/ID10) has continued during 2005 although space is increasingly becoming a problem. A future option for joining forces with external groups in a partnership model could provide the space and freedom for a new level of supporting laboratories. A workshop organised by the SCM group at the end of 2004 in collaboration with the ILL provided the occasion for discussing possible partnership models with a number of external groups.

C. Riekel