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ESRF receives record number of proposals


The European Synchrotron (ESRF) has had more applications for beamtime this year than at any other time in its 20 year history. Almost 1200 proposals have been received for experiments between August this year and April next year. The figure is ten percent higher than the previous record set in 2008. It means the number of proposals is more than two and a half times higher than the available experiment time.

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The recently upgraded X-ray powder diffraction beamline ID22, which received first beam for commissioning just before the proposal deadline, and ID12, which is unique in the world, were among the beamlines most in demand.

ID22 is the new location of the high resolution powder diffraction beamline previously housed at ID31. The operational energy range has been extended to 6-80 keV. ID22 is very versatile and can be exploited for a wide range of measurements including structural studies, dynamic and in-situ studies, microstructure and residual strain.

The world-unique ID12 beamline offers users full control of the polarisation state of the X-ray beam over a wide energy range (2-15 keV) for research at the ultimate limits of X-ray spectroscopy. Experiments on the beamline range from spintronics to solid state physics.  

Demand for time on the ID10 beamline has also been especially high. This beamline has been one of the most popular since it returned to operation in 2012. ID10 is a multi-purpose high-brilliance undulator beamline for both high-resolution X-ray scattering and surface diffraction on liquid and solid interfaces (endstation 1) and coherent small-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy and coherent diffractive imaging (endstation 2). Applications on the beamline range from the surface structure of complex fluids to imaging of biological cells.

The new beamline complex dedicated to nano-analysis and nano-imaging (NINA - ID16 A and B) attracted more than 60 proposals.

Head of the User Office, Joanne McCarthy said: "The fact that interest from users is at an all-time high even during a period where there is some scheduled disruption during the upgrade at ESRF, shows the value of the available techniques to the scientific community".


Top image: The Langmuir trough (front) on ID10 is used for studies on liquid surfaces. This instrument, coupled with the 4m long flight tube on the left that ensures high resolution GISAXS, has made the beamline one of the most popular among users since it returned to operation in 2012. Credit: ESRF/O. Konovalov