The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is the most powerful synchrotron radiation source in Europe. Each year several thousand researchers travel to Grenoble, where they work in a first-class scientific environment to conduct exciting experiments at the cutting edge of modern science.
A synchrotron is a stadium-sized machine that produces many beams of bright X-ray light. Each beam is guided through a set of lenses and instruments called a beamline, where the X-rays illuminate and interact with samples of material being studied. Many countries operate synchrotrons—there are 10 in Europe—but only four worldwide are similar in design and power to the ESRF.
At more than 40 specialised experimental stations on our beamlines, physicists work side by side with chemists and materials scientists. Biologists, medical doctors, meteorologists, geophysicists and archaeologists have become regular users. Companies also send researchers, notably in the fields of pharmaceuticals, consumer products, petrochemicals and microelectronics.
This 6-minute video explains how the facility works and the kinds of scientific and industrial questions it helps answer.