As in previous years, the selected highlights can only give a flavour of the scientific accomplishments of the users of the Dynamics and Extreme Conditions group of beamlines. Their work resulted in about 100 publications in peer reviewed journals with 19 papers in high-impact journals. In this chapter we invite you to travel from Earth’s crust through the mantle into the core before taking off to other planets of our solar system. This chapter also comprises a selection of studies on functional materials, including superconductors, before concluding with a fundamental study on the validity of the reciprocity principle.

March 2013 has seen a slight re-organisation of the group structure with beamline ID26 leaving to the Electronic Structure and Magnetism group, and the techniques and instrumentation test part of beamline ID06 joining our group. This station, currently reserved for in-house technical developments, provided, in 2013, the test bed for pulsed magnetic field studies, the development of X-ray phase plates and a compact, portable transfocator, as well as a prototype diffraction X-ray microscopy set-up.

The large volume press (LVP at ID06) continued to operate at 30% of the standard allocation time for an ESRF beamline. Experiments included ultrasonic measurements combined with diffraction; phase diagram determination and in situ synthesis of materials, and deformation studies reaching total strains up to 25%. Furthermore, new detection and data acquisition schemes were investigated and implemented.

At the Nuclear Resonance Beamline, ID18, the synchrotron Mössbauer source (SMS) was made available for the users programme. It provides a tuneable X-ray beam (typically +/- 1 eV around the iron Mössbauer resonance at 14.4 keV) with an energy resolution of about 10 neV and 10 kHz “resonant” -quanta.

The official inauguration of the new inelastic X-ray scattering beamline, ID20 (ESRF Upgrade Programme UPBL6), took place on 30 May on the occasion of the spring meeting of the Science Advisory Committee. Official user experiments started in June 2013. The beamline has reached its target performance and is now fully operational.

The high-pressure beamlines ID09A and ID27 can again look back on a very productive year. Using novel approaches, new high pressure records up to 6.7 Mbar at ambient temperature could be set. Work on the Technical Design Report for the move of ID09A to ID15 has started and shall be completed by summer 2014; while the move of ID09A is foreseen for 2015.

External funding has become a significant complement to the investment capacity of the group. ID06LVP profited from the ANR Mantle Rheology project, which developed research techniques for the measurement and modelling of deformation mechanisms of mantle materials in collaboration with partners from Lille and Paris. A BMBF (German ministry for education and research) grant under the leadership of the group of L. Dubrovinsky (Bayerisches Geoinstitut Bayreuth) led to the installation of a double-side laser-heating setup at beamline ID18. The follow-up grant aims at developing a high-pressure sample environment for the characterisation of time-dependent processes in materials at extreme conditions. A further BMBF grant supports the installation of a high-throughput diffractometer for diffuse scattering studies as a side-station to beamline ID28, led by the group of B. Winkler (University of Frankfurt). Further support is received in the framework of the Helmholtz Russia Joint Research Group (“Sapphire ultra optics for synchrotron radiation”; R. Hermann, FZ Jülich) and the XNAP collaboration for the development of a two-dimensional counting pixel X-ray detector based on silicon avalanche photodiodes.

This year’s achievements would not have been possible without a vibrant user community and the continuous support and effort of all the other ESRF divisions. The prospect of a possible Upgrade Phase II is a further motivation to jointly pave the way to new science and technology and maintain the group’s beamlines at the forefront of cutting edge research.

M. Krisch