2016 was a very busy and productive year with the Complex Systems and Biomedical Sciences  Group (CBS) beamlines providing full user service, while concurrently its staff have been planning the beamlines evolution alongside the EBS lattice. The user community is greatly involved in the science programmes and beamline designs and we received six expressions of interests from groups in surface science, coherent spectroscopy, diffraction, medical imaging and therapy. The scientific cases for upgrading ID03 and ID10 were presented at the EBS workshop held on December 8-9. Overall, the beamlines will benefit enormously from the new lattice and technology.

The main news from our beamlines and labs are discussed below.

For ID02, the small-angle scattering beamline, 2016 was a normal year of operation. The main event was the highly successful review in November which acknowledged the impressive output from the beamline. A new technique available to users is X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) in the ultra-low angle range to probe dynamics on the micrometre length scale. 

ID03, the surface science beamline, welcomed new staff with the arrival of two new postdocs and a PhD student. On the technical side, significant detector improvements were made with the replacement of the sensors in the two Maxipix detectors and a refurbishment of the ADSC large-area detector. An oxygen gas cracker in the UHV diffractometer is now available for users. In the catalysis laboratory, the flow reactor for in situ catalysis experiments was refurbished and a new setup for in situ/operando electrochemical experiments with OLEMS gas detection was built in collaboration with TU Eindhoven. Finally, a new instrument combining a scanning probe microscope (SPM) and X-ray scattering at ambient-pressure was built in collaboration with Leiden University.

As for ID09, the time-resolved beamline, the ageing FreLoN detector was replaced with a larger Rayonix MX170. The larger field-of-view, faster readout and higher sensitivity of the new detector are increasing the efficiency of all experiments. In its high-speed mode, the detector can acquire 100 images per second. For molecules containing transition metals, X-ray emission spectroscopy is now available to monitor changes in valence and spin states during chemical reactions. The emission, which is intensified by the pink beam, can be recorded simultaneously with WAXS and thus provides complementary site-specific information. With the classical Johann spectrometer at ID09, the energy and line profiles are measured by scanning the Bragg angle of the analyser. Alternatively, the spectrum can now be recorded, without scanning, by a van Hamos spectrometer. In this spectrometer, a cylindrical crystal focuses the emission into a line on a Maxipix detector. The van Hamos covers a 100 eV wide spectrum and can record both core-to-core and valence-to-core (vct) spectra in a single measurement. The vct emission is weak, about 100 times weaker than core-to-core, but it is more sensitive to the environment and simpler to predict theoretically.

At ID10, there have been improvements to the instrumentation of the two stations for soft interfaces and coherent scattering. A high-resolution diffractometer with a double-crystal deflector for liquid surface and interface studies was successfully commissioned in 2016. After one year of operation, the diffractometer has proven to be excellent. A CdTe 2x2 Maxipix detector has greatly increased the efficiency of XPCS and CXDI at 21 keV, which is important for probing the dynamics and structure of objects in enclosures. Both stations are working to provide new instrumental capabilities and science to take maximum benefit from the increased coherence and brightness promised by the EBS upgrade.

ID17, the biomedical beamline, is dedicated to in vitro and in vivo medical research. For micro-CT imaging, the beamline offers a large portfolio of detectors for multiscale imaging in the energy range 25-180 keV. A Frelon and PCO.5.5 detector are used with optical lenses to define pixels from 3.1 to 47 µm and a field-of-view up to 180 mm. The most requested imaging technique is free propagation phase contrast, which is alone taking more than 40% of the beamtime. A new setup for high resolution micro-CT will be ready at the beginning of 2017. Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT), also highly requested, is aiming at studying tumouricidal properties of intense microbeams often combined with nanoparticles or other chemotherapic adjuvants. Other MRT programmes study the effect of microbeams in reducing seizures in epilepsy, etc.

The Biomedical Facility (BMF) is playing a key role in supporting experiments at ID17 and at other beamlines. In 2016, Geraldine Le Duc, scientist in charge of the BMF, took sabbatical leave. In her absence, Alberto Bravin is acting scientist in charge. Finally, the beamline was reviewed very positively in May.

For the Partnership for Soft Condensed Matter (PSCM), the most notable new instruments are the nanodrop UV-vis spectrometer and the 3D printer for microfluidics. The former Surface Science Lab (SSL) was integrated within the PSCM and the capability of its atomic-force microscopes (AFMs) has been extended. Since September 2016, an agreement between the ESRF and ILL has allowed all ESRF users to have full access rights to the PSCM labs located in the Science Building. ESRF users can request PSCM support directly in their beamtime proposals and A-forms. Examples of science driven by PSCM partners include the nano-structure of keratin bundles in cells (C.Y.J. Hémonnot et al., in the X-ray nanoprobe chapter) and the development of new texture analysis methods for composite nanomaterials (T.A. Grünewald et al., in this chapter). In preparation for the EBS, we are working in collaboration with the Göttingen partner on a portable cryo-chamber for nanobeam studies of biological tissues. Finally, a partnership with Vienna-BOKU University was signed in September and it foresees the contribution of at least one visiting PhD student.

The CBS staff took part in the organisation of the International Soft Matter Conference (ISMC2016) in Grenoble in September. There were 680 participants and the participants and speakers were very happy with the quality of the presentations.

For the EBS programme, the CBS group has submitted two conceptual design reports for new beamlines: CDR1 is a proposal for a beamline for coherent beam studies of the dynamics and structure of hard and soft complex systems. The new beamline will take full advantage of the 100 times increase in coherent flux of the EBS which is expected to open up new horizons in physics, material science and biology. CDR4 is a proposal for a surface science beamline with a wide portfolio of techniques for the investigation of chemical and physical processes of nano objects on solid and liquid interfaces. The highly intense beam will create new opportunities for in situ and real-time studies of surfaces and interfaces for areas such as catalysis, electrochemistry, 2D materials, biomimetic membranes and polymers.

M. Wulff