The ESRF Upgrade: halfway there


Presenting the current status of the ESRF Upgrade and introducing the next phase.

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As we approach the halfway mark of Phase I of the ESRF upgrade, it is an appropriate moment to consider what we have achieved so far for our users. We have reached the peak activity of the upgrade, with the long shutdown having started on 5 December 2011 until 5 May 2012. This is the first time since the inauguration of the ESRF that the accelerator complex and storage ring have been shut down for such an extended period of time. All divisions are now extremely busy, using the opportunity to install or modify as many components as possible. The most visible part of the ongoing works is, of course, the construction activity managed by our Technical Infrastructure Division for the new premises that will house the extended experimental floor in the sectors ID27–ID02 and the new lab and office building.

The Accelerator and Source Division is engaged in numerous projects, including works on the RF systems (solid-state amplifiers and cavities) and on many straight sections. The Experiments Division along with the Instrumentation Services & Development and the Technical Infrastructure Divisions, meanwhile, are heavily engaged in beamline upgrade and refurbishment projects. The first new beamlines have become available for user operation, with more to follow after the long shutdown. Many more beamlines and deliverables will continue to become operational until the end of Phase I of the upgrade in early 2015. A more detailed account on ongoing works and the achievements of the first half of the upgrade is given in the March 2012 issue of ESRFnews dedicated to our upgrade activities.

We are proud to report that the performance of the ESRF for its users has not dropped significantly during this period of heavy works. The machine performs better than ever, with record values for the mean time between failure and availability, and its scientific output is as high as ever – producing about 1800 peer-reviewed publications per year despite the temporary closure of many beamlines for reconstruction activities. This year we will reach the landmark number of 20 000 refereed publications since the ESRF started up. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all ESRF staff for its outstanding dedication to continued user operation and upgrade activities.

Phase II

At its meeting in Bad Zurzach in 2008, the ESRF Council decided to adopt a staged approach for the ESRF upgrade comprising two phases. With Phase I now well underway, and on schedule, it is time to prepare for Phase II of the upgrade. In November 2011, Council charged ESRF management with producing a proposal describing Phase II plans and activities within certain temporal and budgetary constraints. A major task this year is therefore to consult users about their scientific and technical needs, a process that began at the 2012 Users’ Meeting.

Currently, the Phase II proposal includes improvements to the accelerator complex, the public beamline portfolio of the ESRF, and a dedicated programme to develop advanced optics, detectors and software. A series of workshops will be set up in 2012 to hammer out the details of Phase II upgrade beamline projects, with full involvement of our Science Advisory Committee. The final proposal will be submitted to Council in time for its spring meeting in 2013, with a decision taken hopefully later that year. Getting all of this preparatory work done during 2012 while Phase I of the upgrade is in motion will certainly be a challenge, but it will be a major step towards the completion of an upgrade that will keep the ESRF at the top of its game for the next 20 years.

Harald Reichert, research director, ESRF


Associated articles


This article appeared in ESRFnews, March 2012. 

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Top image: The Upgrade focuses on five core areas of applied and fundamental research.