Refurbished ROBL beamline inaugurated


After an extensive upgrade, beamline BM20 (ROBL) at the ESRF which is operated by the German national research centre HZDR, is now offering vastly improved experimental capabilities for material science and radiochemical research. On 28 November 2011, the upgraded beamline was inaugurated during a ceremony on the occasion of an ESRF Council meeting. This event was chaired by the ESRF Director General, Francesco Sette, the Chairman of the ESRF Council, Jean Moulin, Division Head Thomas Roth of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, and the Scientific Director of the HZDR, Roland Sauerbrey.

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Beamline BM20 has been in operation since 1997, using the intense beams of X-rays from a bending magnet of the ESRF storage ring to study the surfaces of materials at the nano-scale and to investigate the behavior of radioactive isotopes, notably actinides, in the environment. Apart from HZDR researchers and their collaborators, scientists from across Europe use about one third of the unique capabilities offered by ROBL. "In recent months we have adjusted the beamline to the challenges of the next decade," says Andreas Scheinost, the Head of ROBL. All X-ray optical components were completely rebuilt and the equipment of the two end stations partially replaced and improved. In total, HZDR has invested some two million Euros in the upgrade.

Both ROBL end stations will benefit from the much shorter time needed for experiments and the possibility for more complex investigations. "We are now able to better analyse nanostructures, surfaces and interfaces, even buried ones, and to do this faster and more accurate. In addition, we can study dynamic processes, such as the creation of nanostructures, directly as they happen", says Carsten Bähtz, Head of materials research at ROBL. In radio chemistry, a wider range of samples can be studied with lower concentrations, which corresponds better to real environmental conditions. This is particularly important for determining the safety of future disposal of nuclear waste, to which scientists can make important contributions.

Cutting the ribbon

Francesco Sette, ESRF Director General, Roland Sauerbrey, Scientific Director of the HZDR, Jean Moulin, Chairman of the ESRF Council, and Thomas Roth, Division Head in the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, celebrate the inauguration of BM20.


Further information


Top image: Andreas Scheinost, Head of the BM20 beamline, indicating the dimensions of the monochromator mirrors.