Following the tendency of recent years, a substantial increase in proprietary research at the ESRF was seen during 2001: Around 300 shifts were purchased, representing an increase of 35% with respect to 2000.

Macromolecular crystallography data collection was the main activity (80% of shifts in 2001). A dozen companies regularly take advantage of the ESRF facilities in this area, both large pharmaceutical companies and start-ups driven by proteomics ­ a promising activity generated by genomics. 

In order to better meet the requirements of industrialists, a "Fedex" service has been launched whereby companies can send their samples by post and the data collection is carried out by ESRF scientists who are specialised in industrial biocrystallography. This new procedure will allow the optimisation of beam time use and will avoid many expensive and time-consuming trips for industrialists.

Another growing activity for pharmaceutical companies is X-ray powder diffraction for characterising the crystalline fine state of drugs. Mastering the crystalline characteristics, i.e. amorphous versus crystalline content, size of crystallites and crystalline lattice, is of utmost importance for the manufacturing process. Sometimes tiny changes can only be detected using the ESRF's high-resolution diffractometers; this aspect is illustrated in this section by one contribution.

Other industrial activities are concerned mainly with materials, with diverse applications such as microelectronics, glass, cosmetics, petroleum, construction or plastics. Four examples are given here. Two describe applications of microtomography in various domains.

A series of microtomography images illustrate the capabilities of this technique for characterisation, control and process development. The two other examples are related to microelectronics, more precisely to the control of silicon carbide processing by synchrotron topography, and to the characterisation of defects in silicon after ion implantation and annealing using the promising grazing incidence diffuse X-ray scattering (GIDXS) technique. The ESRF is ideally suited to exploit this technique to study defects induced in the process of fabricating shallow junction by sub-keV dopant implantation.

Finally the last article deals with the latest results from the industrial facility that has been installed at the ESRF to fulfil the requirements of the semiconductor industries in terms of contamination control.