Since construction was completed in 1991, the ESRF has been one of the world’s most brilliant photon sources. It was the very first synchrotron of the third generation type to be built and it is the most powerful and stable source of high energy (6 GeV) X-rays in Europe. A continuous and dynamic research and development programme has placed the ESRF as a pioneer in synchrotron and accelerator physics and technology.


In 2009 an ambitious upgrade of the facility was launched including technological developments on the accelerator complex, resulting, in 2012, in a brighter source and a smaller beam at the sample.

To pursue its advance in the field and push the boundaries of science even further, in 2015 the ESRF launched the Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) project. The main focus of EBS is the design and implementation of a new low-emittance storage ring to be constructed and commissioned in the existing tunnel, replacing the present one. This first-of-a- kind, new generation storage ring synchrotron source will produce a normalized horizontal emittance of at least a factor 10 better than any existing or currently planned projects, and at least a factor 100 more brilliant than the ESRF source today.



1st, 2nd and 3rd generation light sources

First generation synchrotron light sources were parasitic recuperation of light from existing facilities designed for particle physics studies.

Second generation synchrotron light sources were dedicated to the production of synchrotron radiation and employed electron storage rings to harness the synchrotron light.

Third generation synchrotron light sources are designed with long straight sections to house insertion devices (wigglers or undulators) to optimise the intensity of the light produced. Wigglers, with small and high field bending, create a broad but intense beam of incoherent light. Undulators, with small and low field bending, create a narrower radiation cone with more intense beam, with selected wavelengths or harmonics, which can be tuned by manipulating the magnetic field of the device by changing the gap.