This year’s contribution again shows the complementarities of research at the beamlines, covering very fundamental aspects of science as well as the development of novel applications.

The first three contributions deal with those fundamental aspects. A hard X-ray photoemission experiment, using the electron analyser developed within the VOLPE collaboration (FP5 project), nicely shows the importance of bulk sensitivity in order to compare theoretical and experimental data in the case of V2O3. The other two examples are related to glasses, still one of the important research areas for the group. Using inelastic X-ray scattering and nuclear inelastic scattering, new insights could be gained in the high-frequency limit of sound waves and in the understanding of the Boson peak, respectively.

The application part deals this time with phonons and electronic structures. Within the framework of the DYNASYNC collaboration (FP6 project), the phonon density of states from a monolayer iron on W(110) up to bulk iron could be measured in situ. Very small high-quality single crystals of molybdenum and hexagonal boron nitride (BN) could be prepared thanks to advanced preparation techniques. The pressure dependence of phonon anomalies in molybdenum and the elasticity of hexagonal BN could thus be determined. Resonant and non-resonant emission spectroscopy are becoming valuable techniques in the applied sciences for the study of local coordination and electronic structure. In the two examples presented here, dealing with catalysis and electrochemistry, only the emission spectroscopy was sensitive enough to answer the questions on high valence of iron and the ligand environment of nanocrystalline Cr deposits.

As usual, technical developments rank very highly at our beamlines. Before the summer shut-down ID26 took first beam in order to verify the X-ray optics after the refurbishment closure. The successful tests assured the re-opening of the beamline for the second half of 2006. Stable operation for absorption and especially emission spectroscopy allowed a smooth users’ programme. The refurbishment programme will continue in parallel with beamline operation: the installation of a new high-performance emission spectrometer in a dedicated hutch is planned for 2007.

Another important activity concerned the preparation of the conceptual design reports for the ESRF upgrade programme. We foresee ambitious scientific and technical developments on all of our beamlines, which will open new possibilities in several fields of research. With this goal in mind, recent tests together with the Machine Group have been highly valuable. For example, the ramping up of the electron current from 0 to 200 mA confirmed the good performance of the high heat-load monochromators, which mastered brilliantly the corresponding power from the undulators. ID18 was allowed to go further to 250 mA and forced a value of 1300 W absorbed power in the first crystal of the monochromator without posing any real problems for the optics. However, best performance was reached at 200 mA. Extrapolation suggests that stable operation for the present scheme is possible up to a 300 mA stored electron beam, corresponding to about 600 W in the central cone at ID18.

R. Rüffer