Progress during 2010

2010 saw the start of major works for the execution of Phase I of the Upgrade Programme with the first new beamlines now under construction in the existing experimental hall. Up to this point, works within the Upgrade had only minor impact on user operation, performance and productivity of the ESRF. A proposal for a new scheme to allocate public beamtime at the ESRF has been endorsed by SAC and Council and is now entering its implementation phase.


New Buildings

The project for the extension of the experimental hall is in the preparatory phase for the building works tenders. The preliminary design report was officially approved in May 2010 and the detailed design report in November 2010. These detailed studies have allowed the project to reach maturity. Adjustments to the initial Building Programme, including the extension of ID16 (Figure 1), have been made in order to meet both the scientific and budgetary requirements.

Fig. 1 : Architects view of the future ID16 building housing the two stations of the NanoImaging/NanoAnalysis (UPBL4 - NINA) project.

Progress in the studies allows technical solutions to be considered for the most challenging issues of the project. The construction schedule is already well defined and has been fixed in a way to minimise the impact on the user operation. The building works are planned to start in September 2011. The timescale includes two long shutdowns of the facility. The first shutdown (from December 2011 to April 2012) will be dedicated to the demolition of existing structures, modifications of existing networks and creation of the foundations for the extensions. The second one (a few weeks during the normal summer shutdown in 2012) will be dedicated to the completion of the 4 000 m2 of high quality concrete slab on which many of the new beamlines will be constructed.

In parallel, and within the frame of the State/Region contract (CPER), studies are progressing for the construction of the Science Building (under the authority of the ILL), the extension of the restaurant and a new site entrance on the Avenue des Martyrs (under the authority of the ESRF). The CPER programme will enhance the scientific life and increase visibility of the EPN science campus.

Preparatory works have been started to free the space for the construction of the IBS2 building by moving the works committee to the centre of the ring and the subcontractor premises next to the technical buildings close to the river Drac. The IBS2 construction will start in May 2011 with a delivery planned for the beginning of 2013.


Upgrade of the Source

Upgrade of the accelerator system is progressing well. The much improved orbit measurement, resulting from the installation of the new electronics driving the electron beam position monitors, has enabled a higher precision in the horizontal to vertical coupling correction. The emittance of the electron beam has been reduced and stabilised below 5 pm for periods of up to a full week. An improved orbit stabilisation system is under development; it was made possible thanks to the new digital electronics.

The transformation of the straight sections of ID18 and ID30 for the accommodation of 6 m long undulators has been completed. New magnets, vacuum chambers, and undulators are under manufacture. An ambitious RF upgrade programme is being preparated that includes the replacement of some high power klystrons by solid state amplifiers and the development of new cavities with higher order modes damping. In 2010, the storage ring has been routinely operated with 300 mA of current during Machine Physics runs. The accelerator upgrade work was carried out during planned shutdowns and had no detrimental consequences on the User programme.


Renewal of Beamlines

Budgetary constraints have been absorbed mostly by further refining the number of beamlines to be moved in the floor plan for the public beamline portfolio of the ESRF while preserving the number of Upgrade Beamline (UPBL) projects at eight. The revised floor plan reduces the number of moving beamlines by three with the additional benefit of avoiding lengthy shutdown periods of the respective beamlines for users. The new floor plan has been endorsed in 2010 by SAC and Council for implementation.


Fig. 2 : The EXAFS beamline BM23 is the first new beamline to commence user operation following an upgrade with transfer from BM29. Left: Monochromator showing translation stage to change pairs of crystals; Below: Close-up of the 3 pairs of crystals (111, 311, 511), which enlarge the accessible energy range.

Conceptual Design Reports (CDRs) and Technical Design Reports (TDRs) for five UPBL projects defining ten independent experimental stations have been produced, externally reviewed, and approved for execution in 2010. Work on CDRs and TDRs for the sixth UPBL and extensive refurbishment of the ID10 complex as well as ID19 has been started in parallel.  The first new beamline, BM23, has finished its constructions phase and will commence full user service with the start of the 2011/I run, to be followed by UPBL11 finishing its construction phase in 2011 (Figure 2). Upgrade of instrumentation has already been started on all eight UPBL projects (Figure 3).


Fig. 3: T. Schulli and G. Carbone, scientists at beamline ID01 (UPBL1), with their new diffractometer for nanodiffraction analysis.


Enabling Technologies and Instrumentation

The Instrumentation Services and Development Division (ISDD) is deeply involved in the implementation of the Upgrade Programme for both the Experiments Division (ExpD) and Accelerator and Source Division (ASD). Driven by the first UPBL projects, several key technological areas have been identified, e.g. X-ray mirror engineering, diamond technologies, nanofocussing optics, online data analysis, high-rate data collection. Expert working groups have been created to find innovative and reliable solutions. When possible these solutions are generic to allow cost-effective adaptation to multiple beamline projects. All ISDD scientists and engineers provide expertise in the preparation of TDRs ranging from ray-tracing simulation and heat load modelling to producing cost estimates for entire instruments.

Although the X-ray detector programme is still in a re-definition stage, several key elements of this programme have been started, including the implementation of a liquid phase epitaxy laboratory to secure the procurement of high quality scintillators. A collaboration contract with Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for the production of a Ge microstrip detector for UPBL11 has been signed, as well as a three-year collaboration contract with PSI for the development of the EIGER detector. A new framework for imaging detectors, LiMA - Library for IMage Acquisition, has been developed. LiMA offers 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. Development of GPU accelerated data processing was successfully implemented for tomography reconstruction and will be adapted for other scientific applications. Concerning the beamline control electronics, more than 1000 motors are being controlled with standardised IcePAP electronics on beamlines. The UPBLs will also be equipped with these controllers.

Several critical X-ray optics projects such as high reflectivity X-ray multilayers, sub-60 nm KB mirrors, diamond monochromators and beam splitters and compound refractive lenses (CRLs) have been developed. The ESRF established a long-standing programme with several companies and academic institutes to ensure the production and tailoring of

high-quality diamond single crystals for various applications. A new concept of transfocators combining linear and 2D CRLs was developed and installed at ID06. New beryllium linear refractive lenses were tested under white beam illumination at ID06. This heat-load test confirmed high stability of the lenses opening the opportunity to use new in-vacuum and white beam 1D transfocators for the ESRF upgrade beamline projects (e.g. UPBL4). Finally, in-line multi-lens interferometers were successfully applied to phase contrast imaging and the study of coherence preservations by crystals, multilayers and refractive lenses.

The Mechanical Engineering group has undergone internal reorganisation, including the creation of a procurement unit, a 150 m2 lab dedicated to precision mechanical assembly and a room for clean assembly, located within the experimental hall. In collaboration with beamline staff, this group has also been working on specific UPBL projects including:

UPBL11: Transfer of beamline from BM29 to BM23; installation of a new experimental table in BM23; design and procurement of the ID24 polychromators and mirrors.

UPBL10: Geometric acceptance test of a robotic arm for sample screening and data acquisition; detailed design of beam splitters and canted beam shutter; BM29 mirror design and purchase.

UPBL4: Design of the NA branch’s double mirror (high stability requirements); refurbishment of the Kohzu double crystal monochromator for NA; detailed specifications of slits and absorbers.

UPBL6: Pre-design of the two spectrometers (high resolution IXS spectrometer and large solid angle IXS spectrometer); preparation of the move of ID20 to ID06 with a modification of the beamline layout and design of a double multilayer mirror.

A new concept for the positioning systems of long X-ray mirrors for the UPBLs and ID06 has been developed, optimised for high stability, low thermal drifts, and fine position control.


Computing Infrastructure

Investments into the computing infrastructure have been kept on a low level for much of the year awaiting the construction of the new data centre in the ESRF central building. With completion now being imminent, contracts have been placed for the network cabling, the water cooled racks, a large StorageTek tape library, and a new blade computing cluster. The new hardware will be installed at the beginning of 2011. The new blade cluster is based on a mixed architecture of graphical processor units (GPUs) and multi-core Intel CPUs with a large amount of random access memory. It will be used as a data analysis platform for the massive data flow generated by the tomography experiments. Similar systems dedicated to life science data analysis and simulation are planned in the course of 2011.


P. Elleaume, R. Dimper, H. Reichert, S. Pérez and J. Susini