The ESRF designs a new generation of synchrotrons

ESRF-EBS (Extremely Brilliant Source) is a 150M€ facility upgrade centred around the construction of a revolutionary low-emittance light source that will increase the brilliance and coherence of the X-ray beams produced by a factor of 100. Such an increase in performance also implies a leap into the future and so, with the completion of EBS in 2020, the ESRF will become the world’s first high-energy, fourth-generation synchrotron light source.

This new source will be achieved by replacing the existing storage ring, a double-bend achromat (DBA) magnet sequence, with an innovative and award-winning hybrid multi-bend achromat (HMBA) design, developed at the ESRF. This first-of-a-kind new storage ring combines an increase in the number of bending magnets in each cell with smaller sextupole settings and a large dynamic aperture, reducing the horizontal equilibrium emittance by nearly a factor of 30 to produce an X-ray beam 100 times more brilliant and coherent than before. About 90% of the existing infrastructure will be re-used, and the new ESRF-EBS design has been conceived with greatly improved energy efficiency, reducing electricity costs by 20%. 

ESRF-EBS will offer unprecedented tools for the exploration of matter and for the understanding of life at the macromolecular level.

The ESRF-EBS project was highlighted as a landmark in the 2016 ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) roadmap, and confirmed in the 2018 ESFRI roadmap.

"The ESRF Extremely Brilliant Source is a new challenge taken up together by the 22 partner nations of the ESRF. With the construction and commissioning of the first of a new generation of synchrotrons, fully conceived and designed by ESRF accelerator scientists and engineers, the ESRF consolidates and enlarges its pioneering role in X-ray science. This challenging and unique project will provide new tools for the investigation of condensed matter and life sciences, which will better worldwide scientific cooperation and the quest to finding durable answers to the pressing technological, economic, health and environmental challenges facing our society." Francesco Sette, Director General of the ESRF

A scientific and technological challenge

The ESRF – EBS is a global project that will boost the position of the ESRF partner countries at the forefront of X-ray science and instrumentation. ESRF–EBS consists of four components:

  • The construction of a new – the first of a kind – storage ring, inside the existing infrastructure, producing an extremely brilliant source
  • The construction of four brand new beamlines, complementing the 19 beamlines delivered in the upgrade programme Phase I between 2009-2015. 
  • An ambitious scientific instrumentation programme, including high performance X-ray detectors
  • A "data as a service" strategy to fully exploit the high performance of the new X-ray source

The other ESRF beamlines will be extensively refurbished to make them EBS-ready. Two new user platforms have also been implemented: a high-power laser facility (HPLF), in autumn 2018, that allows scientists to create exotic states of matter at ultrahigh pressures and temperatures such as those found in exoplanets; and a cryo-electron microscope (cryoEM), in November 2017, which enables scientists to determine biological structures without crystallisation.

The implementation of this major project is based on the unique expertise of the ESRF, on the success of the ESRF Upgrade Programme Phase I that has provided new tools to explore the nano-world, but also on the synergy with European laboratories and synchrotrons to develop open innovation, and to enhance the competitiveness of European industry through open science.

Read the stories behind the challenge: ESRF-EBS blog

EBS Schedule


This project receives support from the CPER  (Contrat de Plan Etat Région) in France.




The ESRF Upgrade Programme: 330M€ over 2009-2022


Upgrade Programme documentation