In 2019, the ESRF s activity was mainly focused on the installation works of the new Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) equipment, however, in 2020, the main challenge was to reinstate operation in User Service Mode (USM) on time as initially planned. Consequently, the vast majority of ESRF staff have been dedicated either to the restart of the machine and / or to ensure a maximum number of beamlines are back in service. The Instrumentation Services and Development Division (ISDD) and the Technical Infrastructure Division (TID) have both been highly committed to supporting the Accelerator & Source (ASD) and Experiments (EXPD) divisions to achieve these goals.
The first part of the year was dedicated to commissioning, optimising the machine parameters and replacing components in the storage ring. As a reminder, the vacuum conditioning of the machine is to be implemented with a gradual current increase to avoid an excess of radiation (page 173). The vacuum level in the different sections of the machine has been closely monitored since the restart, providing a large amount of valuable information regarding the machine conditioning. After almost one year of operation, it is worth digging into these data to analyse the success of the main technical options that were initially selected.
One of the key challenges, due to the reduced dimensions of the new EBS beam, is the sharp increase of the alignment accuracy requirements. Aligning the different components on the girders, and subsequently aligning each girder to its collateral girders during the construction phase, had already proved a challenge. Knowing that the displacement of the previous machine throughout the year exceeded the new machine s tolerances, the actual performance of the EBS machine is a key topic that requires thorough investigation. Page 172 gives a very first overview of the machine surveys conducted this year, which provides encouraging results for the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic left its mark on all organisations; it is therefore impossible to produce a 2020 activity report without mentioning this crisis and its ensuing consequences. To adapt to this unprecedented situation, the ESRF has had to deploy new and innovative solutions. These new solutions, which we have been required to use in our daily working life, will be further incorporated as reference
ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES tools when professional life returns to normal in the future, providing the ESRF with a more efficient and versatile working environment. All IT-related groups, both in TID and ISDD, were responsible for providing solutions to our users (remote experiments, sample tracking solutions, etc.) and tools for ESRF staff (video conferencing, electronic signatures, etc.). Page 175 is an impressive list of the collective efforts organised to efficiently adapt the ESRF IT solutions to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. More specifically, it should be noted that the necessity of conducting experiments remotely has led to extending the sample mail- in solution, which has affected both the User Portal (SMIS) and the metadata catalogue ICAT (page 178). This is an interesting illustration of the necessary coordination between the ISDD and the TID.
The commissioning and deployment of the BLISS beamline control system was a real challenge due to the constraints brought about by the pandemic. The success of its implementation relies on the collaboration between the IT and software groups from TID and ISDD. The BLISS architecture, organised as a modular pile of frameworks, will give more flexibility, possibilities and opportunities for the future (page 177).
Also in 2020, as detailed on page 180, remarkable improvements in the quality of 3D-printed microfluidic devices were achieved, particularly for the benefit of X-ray studies.
In addition to the topics presented in the Enabling Technologies and Status of the EBS chapters, 2020 has witnessed many important accomplishments and activities in various technological areas, among which we would like to mention specifically:
The Compact Multilayer Coating System (CMCS) is in the final stage of assembly and will gradually enter into operation in 2021. This new CMCS will be particularly adapted to producing smaller multilayer devices with improved control over the coating thickness profile and accuracy. The continuation of the XIDER project for the development of a novel 2D detector optimised for high energies and time-resolved experiments, based on a novel concept combining photon counting and charge integration. The start of the initial R&D phase of the SPHIRD project for the development of a 2D hybrid pixel detector with small pixels and very high count- rate capabilities that will surpass currently