Part 3
Projects & Landmarks
Physical Sciences & Engineering / Landmark


European Synchrotron Radiation Facility Extremely Brilliant Source

Revolutionary storage ring and beamlines for X-ray synchrotron science and innovation


The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is the world-leading source of synchrotron X-rays. Operating more than 40 beamlines with state-of-the-art instrumentation, the ESRF serves ~10.000 scientists each year who study materials and living matter at the atomic and nanometric scale. It is a truly European facility and a key component of the ERA. The ESRF initiated an Upgrade Programme in 2009, and completed the initial phase in 2015 with 19 new and rebuilt beamlines, enabling 3 orders of magnitude gains in performance for X-ray microscopy and imaging experiments.

The ongoing new phase – the ESRF Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) – consists of the construction of a new storage ring, based on a revolutionary ESRF lattice design, and of new beamlines that will exploit the new source. EBS, bringing two orders of magnitude increase in source brilliance, will open a new era in X-ray science.


The ESRF – the first and highly successful third-generation synchrotron source – started operations in 1994, and since then has promoted and inspired synchrotron science and innovation worldwide.

Every year, ~10.000 scientific users across all disciplines of natural sciences use the ESRF and their work generates ~2.000 peer-reviewed publications. ESRF has delivered up to now ~2.400.000 instrument-hours (i.e. ~140.000 hours/year). Approximately 98% of the beam time at the ESRF is granted through peer-reviewed scientific excellence based access and 2% is acquired for proprietary research. Approximately 30% of all projects submitted to the ESRF involve innovation/industrial technology developments. A transparent scheme monitors beam time distribution among the scientists’ countries and aims for a juste retour with respect to the shareholders’ contributions.

The ESRF provides scientific support to users and carries out the necessary research and development work in synchrotron techniques enabling, among others, Nobel Prizes in Chemistry in 2003, 2009 and 2012. The ESRF has created, together with the ILL and EMBL, a hub of excellence that has stimulated the co-location of specialist laboratories such as the Institute for Structural Biology, the Partnership for Structural Biology, the Partnership for Soft Condensed Matter, industrial research collaborations and a world class cryo-EM platform.

Centred on rebuilding the ESRF storage ring – based upon the all-new hybrid multi-bend achromat lattice designed at the ESRF – the ESRF EBS will deliver unprecedented source brilliance and coherence (~100x). The EBS project includes also the construction of four new state-of-the-art beamlines, a scientific instrumentation programme with ambitious detector projects and a data management and analysis strategy. Most beamlines, including the Collaborating Research Groups beamlines, will also be upgraded. The ESRF EBS represents an investment of 150 M€ over the period 2015-2022.


The new ESRF EBS enhances the ESRF’s impact on science and on partner countries. The ESRF EBS source will start operations in 2020 but is already a global reference: more than 13 projects worldwide aim at reproducing the ESRF EBS model, which will be the reference for at least another decade. The construction of EBS is currently securing industrial innovation with contracts and partnerships with companies based in ESRF Member and Associate countries.

The engineering challenges of the ESRF EBS are boosting industrial capacity in areas such as magnet and detector technology, nano-manipulation, control systems, vacuum technology, precision mechanics and high-power radiofrequency technology for accelerators. Developments in data management, analysis tools and open access repositories will further impact science and technology at European and global levels with an impact in the broader field of analytical science and facilities.

legal status
ESRF, EIROforum member
political support
lead entity
The following countries are members of ESFR
The full list of research institutions involved must be found in the website of the RI
Roadmap Entry
Preparation Phase
Implementation/Construction Phase
Operation Start
estimated costs
capital value
128 M€
1 M€
1 M€
150 M€
82 M€/year

Grenoble, France