X-ray nanoprobe


 Associated facilities

  • Sample preparation laboratories and facilities
  • Instrumentation facility BM05 for internal development and proprietary research
T. Schulli  

Tobias Schülli
XNP Group Leader
+33 (0)476 88 2280

M. Cotte  

Marine Cotte
XNP Group Deputy
+33 (0)476 88 2127


The last few years have seen major developments in synchrotron-radiation-based X-ray nanoprobe techniques (absorption, phase contrast, diffraction, fluorescence).

These developments are based on the coupling of beam features with new optics, new detectors and computers.

As a result, users have many new options, including:

  • higher spatial resolution
  • three-dimensional imaging
  • the possibility to exploit the coherence of the beam
  • setups permitting in situ and real-time observation

as well as combinations of these options.

The X-ray Nanoprobe Group supports not only traditional physical, medical, materials science and engineering subjects, but also new areas for X-ray imaging, such as environmental, archaeological, palaeontological and biological studies.

The introduction to the group's chapter in the annual ESRF Highlights gives an overview of some recent accomplishments.

ID01 is based on (coherent) nano-focus diffraction and scanning methods or full field diffraction microscopy for the study and analysis of surfaces, near-surface structures, thin films and buried interfaces on the atomic to micrometre length scales. Typical X-ray energies are 7-11 keV and 20 keV, but competitive fluxes can be supplied over the energy regime of 6-40 keV.

ID13 provides small focal spots for diffraction and small-angle X-ray scattering.

ID16A and ID16B are part of the ESRF Upgrade project UPBL4 NINA.

ID16A is a 185 m long beamline which provides nano-focused beams for analytical imaging. The nano-imaging beamline addresses problems in biology, biomedicine and nano-technology using X-ray fluorescence microscopy and nano-tomography. It is optimised for ultimate hard X-ray focusing of a beam with a large energy bandwidth at specific energies (17keV or 33.6 keV).

ID16B is a 165 m long beamline, which provides a versatile X-ray instrument in hard X-ray microscopy science, devoted to hard X-ray nano-analysis consisting of the combination of X-ray fluorescence, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and 2D/3D X-ray imaging techniques. It covers the study of a wide variety of materials from medicine, biology, earth and planetary sciences, environmental science, materials science, and nanotechnology. ID16B operates in the hard X-ray regime from 6 to 60 keV.

The micro-spectroscopy beamline ID21 offers three main instruments: an X-ray microscope, working in 2D scanning mode and full-field mode, dedicated mainly to µXRF and µXANES in the tender X-ray domain (2-9 keV), a new end-station dedicated to 2D (powder-like) µXRD, and an infrared microscopy end-station, working in the mid-infrared domain (700-5000cm-1).  Experiments are related to problematics in biology, medicine, environmental science, cultural heritage and earth science, and many more.

The beamlines of the nanoprobe group (XNP group) offer scanning and full field methods in two and three dimensions with different contrast conditions combined to exploit the brilliance and coherence properties as well as energy tunability and extended energy range of the ESRF . Complementary nanocharacterisation of elemental, phases and molecular composition, structure, morphology, strain, etc. can be obtained thanks to:

Mapping/Scanning techniques

  • X-ray fluorescence
  • X-ray diffraction
  • X-ray and infrared absorption spectroscopy
  • X-ray excited optical luminescence

Full field techniques

  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Radiography (absorption and/or phase sensitive contrast)
  • Diffraction imaging using focused beams or microscopy setups
  • X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Other nano-probes are or will be available at ESRF beamlines not included in the XNP group. The Find a beamline page provides a search resource for finding beamlines based on different criteria.


Industrial applications

The ESRF's mission includes interacting with and supporting European industry. Synchrotron X-rays permit analysis of industrial products under real conditions of manufacture and use, often in real time.

The individuals listed above and the staff of the Business Development Office are available to help industrial researchers identify appropriate resources at the ESRF.