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Kick-off for new "nano-friendly" and ecological Upgrade Programme buildings


PRESS RELEASE - The signature of a contract between the ESRF and the engineering company GINGER Sechaud Bossuyt on 27 November marks the beginning of the study phase and the subsequent construction works to implement the ambitious Upgrade Programme. The extension of the experimental hall by 18,000 m2 will allow housing up to 13 modernised existing beamlines, including seven new upgrade beamlines (out of a total of eight upgrade beamline projects).

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Precision will be the name of the game in the new 30-million euro extension of the ESRF. An important aim of the Upgrade is to routinely deliver extremely small X-ray beams for new science in the nanoscale range. In this context, the new experimental halls will host long beamlines of up to 120 metres, instead of the 60-80 metres-long beamlines that feature currently at the ESRF. Even extra-long beamlines of up to 250 metres, required for X-ray imaging and analysis, will be accommodated in new satellite premises.

In order to keep the X-ray beam stable with an extremely small size, potential vibrations coming from the neighbouring motorway, the river flow or traffic inside the buildings should not be amplified. The conception of the new infrastructure has taken all these aspects into account, and it is foreseen that 7500 m2 of slab (thick concrete floor) with an extremely low vibration level will be inserted in the experimental hall.

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Different views of the ESRF after the Upgrade Programme. Credits: Sud Architectes. 

The extension will also provide the ESRF with 4000 m2 additional laboratory and office space.

The new buildings are not only designed for cutting-edge research, but the architects of the project, Sud Architectes (part of the team mandated by GINGER Sechaud Bossuyt), have also given their design an ecological slant. For example, the building roofs will be covered with grass to increase the thermal inertia of the hall and to reduce the rain water flow to be taken up by the ground networks.

The construction of the new facilities takes place in the framework of the first phase of the Upgrade Programme, which runs from 2009 to 2015, covering a capital investment of 180 million euros. The civil construction works are scheduled for commissioning in 2012.

For more information, please contact Montserrat Capellas, +33 476 88 26 63 or e-mail.


Different views of the ESRF after the Upgrade Programme. Copyright: Sud Architectes.

Top image: The ESRF after the Upgrade programme. Credits Sud Architectes.