The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility is more productive than ever, progressing on many different fronts. This volume of the Highlights bears witness to the great diversity of subjects studied by our users and staff. The performance of the X-ray source and beamlines, of the technical, data-handling and user support, all contributed to the quality and volume of the science produced on the 43 (public and CRG) beamlines. The ESRF’s combination of scientific and technical performance, and support to the users, is the acknowledged reference world-wide, despite the twenty years that have passed since the beginning of the ESRF’s design and construction phase.

Preparations for the future moved to the front of the stage in 2007, which will be remembered as the year when the ESRF Upgrade Programme changed from a set of concepts and ideas to become a well-defined project. The major milestone in this process was the publication in October 2007 of the “Purple Book”1, two volumes totalling 360 pages, which summarise two years of teamwork by over one hundred staff, users and outside experts. We gratefully acknowledge their selfless work and the excellent achievement that is the Purple Book.

ESRF Science and Technology Programme 2008-2017

1 ESRF Science and Technology Programme 2008-2017, available in print or electronic format from


The science case for the future development of the ESRF has been convincingly presented and the technical and managerial feasibility of our aspirations firmly established. Just as today’s performance of the ESRF is the result of many different factors, the Upgrade Programme will improve all aspects of the ESRF, enabling the ESRF to continue to play a leading role in science for Europe and the world. The very long beamlines and their state-of-the-art instrumentation, the next-generation data-handling and storage facilities, the new-technology detectors and the research partnerships will all inspire further developments at national light sources by making available world-class expertise and knowledge. Sharing expertise and technology is high on the agenda for many ESRF staff who are regularly called upon to exchange ideas with colleagues at other light sources, both existing laboratories and facilities under construction.

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