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The DG for Research & Innovation for the EU visiting the ESRF member of PAC-G

The DG for Research & Innovation for the EU visiting the ESRF member of PAC-G

Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General for Research & Innovation European Commission, came to visit the BM05, the ESRF’s beamline co-founded by the IRT NanoElec

On 8th January, the European Photons and Neutrons Campus had the pleasure to host Jean-Eric Paquet, European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Union, who came to discover the industrial and academic landscape based in Grenoble and to visit the European Synchrotron (ESRF) and the European Neutron Source – the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL).

During his visit to the ESRF, Jean Susini (Director of Research, ESRF) introduced Mr Paquet to the team managing the Platform for Advanced Characterisation – Grenoble (PAC-G) – and to the PAC-G platform hosted on ESRF’s BM05, which is 50% funded by the IRT Nanoelec. This unique platform includes: a five-circle goniometer, a robot that automatically positions 300 mm and 200 mm wafers on the diffractometer, a mirror to focus the beam to less than 30 microns, an optical microscope to locate the areas (measuring just several microns) to be observed and two 2D detectors effective at high levels of X-ray synchrotron radiation and offering spatial resolution of 60 microns. One of its big advantages is the large size of one of the two detectors (25 cm x 2.5 cm), which makes it possible to rapidly map reciprocal space. Three years since the initial investment, the PAC-G team was able to show Mr Paquet the range of operational, innovative and commercial services tailored for the nano- and micro-electronics industry.

We asked M. Paquet, what was his impression after this day: “How do you consider the role of the ESRF and ILL in the European scenario, with regard to new trends in innovation?”

Jean-Eric Paquet:  The main focus of Research Infrastructures is to perform curiosity-driven fundamental research. However, Research Infrastructures – such as the ESRF and ILL – also have an innovation potential that goes much  beyond the direct socio-economic impact in their local and regional ecosystems.

More and more, Research Infrastructures are service providers to industrial players’ needs, such as nano-characterisation of materials, which can have a huge impact on citizens’ lives in areas such as battery development, energy provision, cancer treatment, environmental monitoring, among many others.

Partnering with industry for the supply of high tech components and launching new initiatives, such as ATTRACT, also lays down the foundations for disruptive innovation in key critical technologies. Examples of these developments, which also develop new markets, include the new generation of detectors, virtual astronomical observatories, lenses, protein scanners, magnets, energy efficient computers, etc.

Adding to this, I would also highlight they are the perfect multi-disciplinary test-beds, as their users – scientists and industrial players – cover virtually all fields of science, from physics, chemistry and biology, to energy, medicine, cultural heritage and engineering.