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The ILL 20/20 Upgrade Project

The ILL has firmly established itself as a pioneer in neutron science and technology. Neutron beams are used to carry out frontier research in diverse fields.

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European collaborations

The ILL 20/20 Upgrade Project of the Institut Laue-Langevin preparatory phase project, forms part of the institute’s wide-ranging, Millennium Programme, and contributes to planning for the next phase of development.

Its purpose is to investigate infrastructure needs, together with potential methods for the optimisation of access and use of the site; it distinguishes the most cost-effective response to users’ requirements in both the short and medium term.

The project aims  to carry out prospective and feasibility studies, manufacture prototypes, make preparation for new buildings and extensions, and investigate future user requirements. These are further defined under the projects objectives.

The activities  being conducted fall into two broad areas, being the upgrading of instruments and the provision of infrastructure and support in the future.

The results  of the project are reported under deliverables and milestones and executive summaries are published. Further information on specific areas may be supplied on application.

ILL has an enviable publications record with over 600 articles by ILL users appearing in peer-reviewed journals a year. In order to facilitate the production of excellent science, ILL constantly solicits users’ needs. Workshops and user events  held under the ILL 20/20 project are a contribution to this process.

The aims are :

  • To prepare for the upgrade of ILL's neutron science facilities to strengthen its world-leading position and provide for the future scientific needs of users in Europe and beyond.
  • To improve the visibility and research capability of the common site occupied by ILL and its sister laboratories, the ESRF and EMBL.

The objectives are :

1. To establish and maintain a system for the effective and efficient management of the project.
2. To benchmark specific ILL instruments against instrument performance at short-pulse spallation sources in the context of the assessed future instrument needs of Europe’s neutron community, in preparation of the upgrade phase M-2.
3. To prepare for the production of high intensity ultra-cold neutron beams. To begin the fabrication and testing of cryostat, ultra-cold neutron extraction and magnet.
4. To plan for renewal of neutron transport systems, designing optimised shielding of neutron guide systems.
5. To explore and evaluate new concepts in neutron scattering instruments and technology.
6. To expand use of ILL facilities, encourage partnerships for science with research centres new to the use of neutrons, focusing on soft matter, extreme sample conditions and materials science.
7. To develop the site infrastructure considering upgrades to support new installations, to set up protocols for knowledge transfer, and to address financial and legal issues.
8. To plan new buildings and/or extensions undertaking a feasibility study and preparing plans for building work.


ILL, as a user facility, provides some 5000 European researchers with access to low-energy-neutron instruments of unequalled range and quality. The Project contributes to the preparatory phase of the ILL 20/20 upgrade through the accrual and subsequent employment of foreground knowledge on the changing requirements of its scientific users and the needs of new users from an expanded field of applied science.The acquisition of this intelligence is through a two-way communication with the external constituency, both engaging their interest and exchanging information to steer the development of facilities at ILL.

The main dissemination activities in the past year have been as follows:

25-27 February 2009: An Outdoor Meeting of the ILL scientists together with a number of external experts was held to discuss future scientific and instrumentation trends.

1-3 July 2009: A conference 'New concept of neutron delivery system for future facilities", attended by engineers from across the world.

16-18 December 2009:A workshop on “Scattering and complementary techniques” was attended by potential Associate Members of PCSM held from 16th 18th December 2009. This represented the first joint ILL and ESRF user meeting.

17-19 March 2010: 'The international workshop on neutron optics' in Alpes d'Huez, France.

12-19 June 2010: The European Summer School on 'Scattering Methods Applied to Soft Condensed Matter' in Bombannes, France.

5-8 July 2010: The 'International Soft Matter Conference 2010' in Granada, Spain.

13-17 July 2010: 'The Eleventh International Conference on Surface X-ray and neutron Scattering' in Chicago, USA

18-21 July 2010: The '13th international Conference on Organised Molecular Films', in Quebec City, Canada.

24-27 August, 2010: 'Bio-interfaces: From Molecular understanding to application', international workshop in Lund.

15-17 September 2010: The ILL2020 Vision Symposium, Grenoble.

8 October 2010: '10B Neutron Detectors Workshop' in Grenoble.

In addition, events were held under the "Partnerships for Science" initiative, and project presentations were made to ILL Scientific Council, the ESRF SAC and to the ESRF Soft Matter Group.

ILL has been liaising with the French Local Authorities regarding the upgrade 20/20 implementation and their contribution to the funding of the new infrastructure on the ILL/ESRF site.

ILL has also been represented at:

Future Prospects

Improved instrumentation will result in more and better experiments being performed by the European neutron user community, addressing areas of science which are inaccessible with current instruments.

The preparatory work under this project: informs construction work and the fitting out of improved premises; avails the testing of prototypes; improving safety features; indicates a programme for the upgrading of instruments; enhances the ILL access programme ; and guides management.

Overall, the ILL 20/20 upgrade project contributes to the renewal of the neutron production and instrumentation at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, to provide a longer perspective of competitiveness and offer improved access for a wider and larger user group.

Added value is given by the Partnerships for Materials Science and Engineering, and Soft Condensed Matter. A High Magnetic Field laboratory in collaboration with ESRF will support instruments on both the neutron and the synchrotron radiation sources. Specific measures will be implemented to enhance Technology Transfer.