Part 3
Projects & Landmarks
Physical Sciences & Engineering / Landmark


Institut Max von Laue - Paul Langevin

The continuous upgrade of the world’s flagship centre for neutron science


The Institut Max von Laue‐ - Paul Langevin (ILL) is an international research centre at the leading edge of neutron science and technology, to support researchers in a variety of fields − condensed matter physics, chemistry, biology, nuclear physics and materials science – and make their combined know-how available to the scientific community. ILL operates the most intense reactor source in the world, supplying neutrons to a suite of high‐performance instruments that are constantly developed and upgraded. The continuous instrumentation upgrade programmes aim at increasing the signal to noise performance, adapting the instrumentation to the changing research environment and offering new innovative techniques.

Entered in the ESFRI Roadmap 2006, ILL developed programmes to support the overall upgrade of its instrument suit. The successfully implemented upgrade programme Millennium and the ongoing Endurance programme strengthen the world-leading position and provide for the future scientific needs of users in Europe and beyond.


ILL offers neutron measurements to the scientific community employing 39 instruments installed on the existing source of neutrons at ILL, 29 operational instruments managed by ILL and 10 instruments handled by external consortia. Each piece of the instrument suite is designed to be state-of-the-art in each particular research field and undergoes major as well as continuous upgrades to fulfil the world-reference role. ILL’s staff have expertise and experience in neutron production (reactor physics, reactor design and operation, cold and hot source design and operation), neutron beam delivery (beam‐tubes, neutron guides including supermirror guides), neutron optics (collimators, monochromators, neutron velocity selectors and choppers), neutron detection and the complete range of neutron instruments for scientific research and sample environment. 1.400 researchers from over 40 countries visit ILL each year, performing over 850 experiments and producing about 600 publications that put ILL at the leading edge of neutron science covering all the relevant scientific domains: soft condensed matter (14%), nuclear and particle physics (5%), biology (9%), chemistry (12%), materials science (20%), physics including magnetism and nanoscience (36%), other (instrumentation, cultural heritage, environment; 4%). ILL’s Industrial Liaison Unit provides a single and specialised point of contact for any potential user from industry and services, offering industrial clients a choice of specific modes of access ranging from quick-access proprietary research or a combination with academic access for maximum innovation.

ILL adopts a pioneering data access policy to allow the access and treatment of the data generated at the institute, following FAIR data principles. After initial priority access to the data for the scientist(s) carrying out the experiment, the data is publicly accessible and reusable. ILL also endorsed the principles of the EOSC Declaration of 10 July 2017.


The economic impact of the implantation of the ILL in Grenoble is very important for France and the Auvergne-Rhône‐Alpes region in terms of direct and indirect jobs and activities. Installations at ILL are used by more than 50 French and European companies for R&D work. The implementation of the instrumentation upgrade programmes of ILL will reinforce the potential performances of the R&D tools and favour the competitiveness of the companies specialized in precision mechanics, vacuum and engineering, neutron guides and neutron choppers. Technologies developed by ILL and companies in partnership are often subsequently used by national and international facilities and laboratories.

legal status
ILL, EIROforum member
political support
lead entity
The following countries are members of ILL
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
188 M€
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
97 M€/year

Institut Max von Laue - Paul Langevin
Grenoble, France