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ESRF installs first components of new Extremely Brilliant source

18 March 2019

The first components for the world’s first, high-energy fourth-generation synchrotron light source have been installed in its storage ring tunnel.

The first components being installed, illustrating the massive scale and logistical challenge for the engineers and architects, such as the below (Credit: CANDE/ESRF)

The ESRF’s new Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) is officially entering a new stage. This week, the first components for the EBS – the world’s first, high-energy fourth-generation synchrotron light source – have been installed in its storage ring tunnel: a new milestone in the history of the European Synchrotron.

“It’s a great moment for all the teams,” said Pantaleo Raimondi, ESRF accelerator & source director. “Seeing the first girders installed on time is testament to the expertise, hard work and commitment of all involved for more than four years. EBS represents a great leap forward in progress and innovation for the new generation of synchrotrons.” 

The start of installation is a key milestone in the facility’s 150M€ pioneering upgrade programme to replace its third-generation source with a revolutionary and award-winning machine that will boost the performance of its generated X-ray beams by 100, giving scientists new research opportunities in fields such as health, energy, the environment, industry and nanotechnologies. The EBS lattice has already been adopted by other synchrotrons around the world, and 18 upgrades following EBS’s example are planned, including in the United States, in Japan and in China.

“Audacity and innovation underpin the ESRF’s mission and the Extremely Brilliant Source writes a new chapter in our history,” said ESRF Director-General Francesco Sette. 

“EBS will provide X-rays with unprecedented brilliance and coherence, which will enable scientists to study materials at the atomic level in much greater detail, with higher quality, and at a much faster rate. This powerful new tool will help scientists to address major challenges facing our society”, adds Francesco Sette.

The ESRF made history as the world’s first third-generation synchrotron light source, producing X-rays 100 billion times brighter than the X-rays used in hospital radiographic equipment, and providing unrivalled opportunities for scientists in the exploration of materials and living matter. In its lifetime, the scientific output from ESRF instruments has totalled over 32,000 scientific publications, and it has generated four Nobel Prize laureates. After an outstanding performance, the ESRF’s X-ray source was shut down, on 10 December last year, for a 20-month upgrade to the new Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS). The activity has been very intensive for the ESRF teams, who have spent three months dismantling the original ESRF storage ring: an enormous logistical challenge that required teams to remove 1720 tonnes of equipment, including 200km of cables, in just 11 weeks. 

After a civil work phase, the EBS is now entering the installation phase. The nine-month installation phase will see 128 steel girders, pre-assembled with over 10 000 cutting-edge components, installed and connected in the 800m-circumference storage ring and then precision-aligned to within 50 microns – about half the width of a human hair.

Once installation is complete, in November 2019, commissioning of the machine and beamlines will begin, and the powerful new research instrument is set to open to scientists in September 2020. 

Image of the ESRF being dismantled (Credit: CANDE/ESRF)

EBS planning:

• 10 December 2018: End of User Mode & start of shutdown (20 months)

• Dismantling (3 months) and installation (8 months)

• December 2019: Accelerator commissioning (4 months)

• March 2020: Beamlines & Accelerator commissioning (5 months)

• End of August 2020: Back to User Mode

Key figures for the ESRF-EBS project:

- A 150M€ upgrade programme over 2015-2022 funded by the ESRF’s 22 partner countries 

- 100x increase in performance for the brilliance and coherence of the beam

- 1000 innovative magnets, nearly twice as many as in the previous storage ring

- 90% of the existing infrastructure will be reused

- 20% less energy needed and consumed by all the accelerator systems


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