The Upgrade Programme is now running at full speed and, despite some uncertainties related to the economic situation, many projects have started in the ESRF’s two service divisions, Instrumentation Services and Development Division (ISDD) and Technical Infrastructure Division (TID).

The instrumentation activities are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art instrumentation for the new beamlines and, equally importantly, to initiating several mid and long-term R&D projects to anticipate future needs which will be decisive in maintaining the ESRF at the forefront of synchrotron instrumentation. This chapter will focus on a few select topics from the many instrumentation-related activities.

The performance of all of the upgrade beamlines will rely on mechanical and thermal stability and the quality of beamline components. ISDD has consequently been providing wide-ranging mechanical engineering expertise from modelling to drafting for slab design, high stability white beam mirrors and high-power gas absorbers, to mention but a few.

The high quality of optical components is equally crucial to the new beamlines and the ISDD Optics Group has been deeply involved in many critical projects such as high reflectivity X-ray multilayers, sub-100 nm KB mirrors and diamond monochromators and beam splitters. Two of the following articles highlight the very successful use of compound reflective lenses in routine operations and in innovative imaging methods, respectively.

2010 also saw the maturation of several technologies pioneered and developed at the ESRF, such as the 2D detectors MaxiPIX and FreLon, and the generic motor controller IcePAP, which is now in use on many of the beamlines.

The detector programme was identified as one of the core drivers of the upgrade and is still in a definition stage. Nevertheless, the implementation of a liquid phase epitaxy laboratory was identified as a strategic choice to secure the procurement of high quality scintillators. Initiated in 2009, this lab is now fully operational and has produced the first light converters to equip 2D detectors, which also benefit from a new software framework, LiMA, (Library for IMage Acquisition). LiMA offers new, fully-standardised interfaces with enhanced capabilities that are being developed in collaboration with other synchrotron facilities to ensure compatibility with a wide range of 2D detectors. A first version of an integrated TANGO-based software application for the control of vacuum equipment was also tested successfully on one beamline. Development of GPU accelerated data processing was successfully implemented for tomography reconstruction and will be further developed for other scientific applications.

The collaborative projects XNAP, NanoFOX and HiZPAD serve as illustrations of the ESRF’s coordination of pan-European initiatives and its role in the European synchrotron community.

The two newly created service divisions have helped along all of these projects by gathering together staff from particular domains and encouraging collaboration in projects bridging many disciplines. After one year of operation, ISDD has demonstrated an efficient transverse coordination between the various areas of expertise, higher standardisation where applicable, and a better response to new technological challenges.

The newly created TID continues to maintain the existing infrastructure at the highest possible standard and, in parallel, aims to foster the development of key infrastructure components that contribute to enhancing the scientific life at the ESRF.

The EX2 building programme is now well underway with construction starting in September 2011 and delivery of the buildings extending from the end of 2012 to May 2013. Although this project had to be downscaled, which led to the suppression of the Vercors extension, the most significant part of the project remains unaffected. The new premises will provide floor space for the phase-1 upgrade beamlines as well as some additional laboratory and office space. Please refer to the Upgrade Section for more information on the EX2 project.  The CPER programme also underwent careful scrutiny to make sure that future equipment and running costs would be compatible with the new financial context of the ILL and ESRF. The revised project outline has yet to be approved by the local funding authorities.

In this chapter of the Highlights you can read about the extension of the Central Building data centre, which will be completed in spring 2011. The data centre will provide space, power and cooling for additional storage and data analysis computers. The new data centre caters for data archiving and affords a significant increase in data analysis capacity; both issues are core to European collaborations undertaken with colleagues in the Neutron and Photon Science Community. This chapter also provides an insight into some specific aspects of the Alignment & Geodesy and Vacuum Groups’ activities. We hope you enjoy reading the articles.

R. Dimper and J. Susini