As in the previous two years, a substantial amount of the technological work focused on the new EBS storage ring project, which made tremendous progress in all aspects. In parallel, the beamline instrumentation programme was ramped up for the existing, to be refurbished, and new EBSL beamlines. A concise overview of these 2017 EBS activities is provided in the Status of the EBS chapter (see page 8).

The contributions in this chapter witness the breadth of activities in technology developments, which range from nano-focusing optics over state-of-the art precision alignment of large equipment to the ever growing challenges of data management and data analysis. The first article (see page 152) reports on the world-record nanofocus of less than 13 nm in the hard X-ray regime at 33.6 keV, achieved on ID16A. The second contribution (see page 153) is representative for several examples where a specific software development for one beamline (here ID01), based on the Silx library (, has led not only to an easy-to-use data analysis tool, but also to an almost real-time visualisation of complex data sets. Together with the last highlight on the modernisation of ISPyB (see page 159), the information system for protein crystallography (, these two articles underline the importance of developing state-of-the-art computational frameworks, workflow and work methodologies and to deploy these between IT experts, software programmers, and scientists. The third article (see page 155) describes yet another X-ray imaging technique, based on speckle-tracking, where the random modulation of the X-ray beam wavefront allows the inferring of deflection by refraction in the sample. Interestingly, this approach can also be utilised at low brightness laboratory X-ray sources. The fourth contribution (see page 156) gives a flavour of the complexity of the alignment of the fully equipped girders for the EBS storage ring. In eight distinct survey and alignment stages, a positional uncertainty of the girder elements with respect to the electron beam of about 60 μm in the two transversal directions is reached! The fifth article (see page 158) describes a newly developed fast data acquisition system for real-time vacuum event analysis. This is already operational today and will be of great value during the commissioning and operation of the new storage ring.

In addition to the results presented in the Highlights articles, 2017 has witnessed many other important accomplishments and activities in various technological areas:

The PANdata ( Software Catalogue now has 97 entries containing contributions from ESRF, ALBA, Diamond Light Source, and ILL. This photon and neutron data infrastructure initiative brings together 13 major world-class European research infrastructures to create a fully integrated, pan-European, information infrastructure supporting the scientific process.

The first full version of OASYS (OrAnge SYnchrotron Suite), an open-source graphical environment for optics simulation software used in synchrotron facilities, was released. (

The X-ray optics group was active in developing new polishing techniques and processes for the production of compound refractive lenses, and started the production of cylindrical Johann and Johannson crystals for X-ray spectroscopy.

ISDD colleagues participated in the EUCALL Annual Meeting, which took place at the ESRF in June 2017. This offered the opportunity to demonstrate RASHPA hardware features for ultra-fast data acquisition and present recent results on the X-ray wavefront analysis by the speckle tracking method. In fact, later in the year the BM05 team successfully tested a mobile setup using the above method to characterise the X-ray beam at the European XFEL FXE beamline.

The ESRF continues to federate and coordinate joint developments with other research facilities, such as the IcePAP, TANGO, LImA, ISPyB, mxCuBE and PaNDaaS collaborations, to mention only a few. The TANGO collaboration now comprises 10 partners, thus providing sufficient critical mass to initiate software developments of common interest to all partners.

Significant progress has been made in testing cloud software for in-house and external IT provisioning. The acquired know-how will help in possible scenarios to outsource peak processing demands that cannot be covered with on-site investments. Developments will continue in the frame of the CERN-led H2020 HNSciCloud project, a pre-commercial procurement (PCP) initiative engaging IT industry and major European research infrastructures.

The implementation of the data policy is progressing according to schedule with 18 beamline end-stations already archiving metadata and raw data. This will be followed by the remaining beamlines until 2020 and is accompanied by work to restructure the way user identities are managed and how data sets can be cited in publications.

Finally, the instrumentation beamline, BM05, continued to be a strategic tool for instrumentation developments such as the characterisation of detectors, scintillators, and X-ray optical components. Together with ID19, it played a central role in the quality control of about 1500 beam position monitor (BPM) buttons for the new storage ring. Furthermore, a robotic film changer for industrial X-ray topography measurements was developed.

M. Krisch and R. Dimper