About Us

14 February 2018: Review of SINE2020 Sample Environment projects 

Recycling Helium

ILL's commitment to the environment spans decades.

Since 1972, we delivered 2.660.193 litres of liquid He, recycled 87.8% of He and saved more than 14.3M€. 

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Sample Environment Joint Research Activity

With more than 50 colleagues from European facilities, we are developing novel equipment to ensure innovative, successful and cost-efficient use of beam time at existing and future large scale facilities.

This Joint Research Activity is supported by the European Commission through the SINE2020 project (World class Science and Innovation with Neutrons in Europe 2020).

ISSE Member

ILL is an institutional member of the International Society for Sample Environment with 14 facilities and 8 companies.

17 Tesla on SANS

The horizontal field 17T cryomagnet funded by EPSRC and owned by T. ForganA. Holmes and E. Blackburn is available on D11D22 and D33. It provides a +/-11° scattering angle through sapphire windows and allows the sample in the vacuum to be cooled down to 1.6K. The sample can also be used at atmospheric pressure and room temperature. This magnet is available to users in collaboration with the owners listed above.

New Standards for Sample Environment

In order to exploit the performance of the new instruments, to open new fields of science and to secure the availability of the existing equipment, we have proposed to establish new standards and develop or acquire missing equipment:

  • Provide novel equipment and a much better support to investigate bio materials, liquids, surfaces and glasses,
  • Enhance high-pressure and low temperature capabilities, Speed up the changes of the sample conditions to better exploit the instruments,
  • Develop high-precision zero-field polarimetry to tackle the fundamentals of nature,
  • Acquire high-field cryomagnets to exploit new world-class instruments.

The project has been welcomed by the Instrument Subcommittee and the Scientific Council. We now wait for a decision of the Associates…

40 Tesla on IN22

The Agence National de la Recherche financed the design and construction of a 40T pulsed field magnet for neutron scattering (Magfins project).

Designed and built by the LNCMI-Toulouse, the coil produces a horizontal field up to 40 T with the 1.15 MJ transportable pulsed field power supply. The coil is installed inside a cryostat developed by the ILL.

The first experiments were carried out very successfully on IN22 down to 2 K and up to 40 T. Efforts are now being made to allow anyone to exploit this magnet…

Dilution Fridge Insensitive to Gravity

We have upgraded the 120 mK dilution refrigerator mounted in the cradle of D10 with a 3He distiller and a new control rack. This very special dilution fridge is now operated very reliably in closed loop to preserve the 3He gas.

Perspectives for Neutron Science in Novel & Extreme Conditions

With Javier Campo (ICMA), we organised an advanced seminar with the aim to identify the scientific drivers requiring novel and extreme conditions, and determine how the neutron scattering techniques could contribute.

This workshop was held in Zaragoza (Spain) from the 27th to the 31st of May 2012. 

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Cryocradle in Cryopad

A non-magnetic Eulerian cradle cooled down to 3.2K has successfully been commissioned on D3 in July 2013. You won't need to re-align your sample anymore when carrying out spherical polarimetry experiments!

Crystal Alignment in Cryostats/Magnets

We have developed a Goniostick for cryostats based on the idea of Berneron et al. (D7 in the early 80s). The prototype shown below has been tested successfully on IN5.

This non-magnetic goniometer fits inside Ø38 bore cryostats and provides ±7° sample tilt with 0.02° resolution (0.14° backlash managed by control software). It can be controlled manually with micrometer screws or remotely with motors.

We have proposed, within the frame of Endurance, to build a few copies for orienting crystals in cryostats and cryomagnets.

New 7 Tesla Cryomagnet on D17

A 7T vertical field asymmetric magnet  featuring a He recondensation unit has recently been commissioned. With single-crystalline sapphire windows at 90°, this cryomagnet fits perfectly with D17. 


Vertical high-field on IN5 in 2015

Since the upgrade of the ToF spectrometer IN5 with reliable position sensitive detectors, the demand for single crystal experiments combined with magnetic fields has increased dramatically as it allows an unprecedented exploration of the field effects on the dynamics through the entire reciprocal space.

To allow our neutron scattering community to tackle fundamental questions, we have decided to acquire a high-field magnet providing 90° horizontal access and ±15° vertical access. The commissioning of this magnet is planned in 2015.

Helium Pumping Crates

New He pumping crates are introduced in the halls. Compatible with the Adixen A100L and Edwards IXL120 pumps, they are quieter and provide slightly improved performances.


Out of hours support is provided in cryogenics during operating cycles. Local contacts, please call 66850 to reach our experts. 

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In trouble with an Orange cryostat ? Have a look at our Trouble Shooting Guide...

Order Liquid Helium

Please, order your helium at least 48 hours in advance so that we can satisfy your needs.

Book Equipments

The use of our equipment is scheduled in  shared calendars. You can check your bookings and look for the availabilities before scheduling an experiment. 

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Safety and Magnets

Please be careful in the vicinity of cryomagnets! The mechanical limits must always be installed and checked before starting an experiment. 

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Send Feedback

Do you have a pioneering idea that could change the way we provide support to our users, or perhaps an innovation that could allow our users to carry out innovative experiments?

Either way, we value your opinion and welcome ideas on how we can improve. Leave us your feedback. Be assured that we will carefully review all suggestions.