Explore ESS

Discover more about the European Spallation Source: what it is, how it works and why it matters.

A short video explaining what the European Spallation Source (ESS) is, how it works and what it is for.

ESS (full name: European Spallation Source ERIC) is a research facility under construction in Lund (Sweden), with its data management and software centre in Copenhagen (Denmark).

When completed, ESS will be the world’s most powerful accelerator-based source of neutrons. Scientists will use these particles to study the properties and behaviour of materials - right down to the level of atoms.

Funded by 13 European countries*, this big-science facility is built with contribution from more than 40 research institutes in Europe, and with knowledge and know-how from many research centres worldwide. ESS attracts people from diverse fields and cultures who share the excitement of building a state-of-the-art facility to enable great science and innovation for a sustainable world.

The construction of the facility is ongoing. Follow the progress of the ESS Road to Science on our social media.

You can also follow our live public operations screen that shows the status of parts of the machine as they become operational.

*Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Why have 13 European countries teamed up to build a giant neutron microscope in the outskirts of Lund, Sweden? To study the smallest building blocks of the world around us, to gain a deeper understanding and to develop the materials needed in our future, sustainable society. Find out more in this video.

Every year, thousands of researchers from academia and industry will use the ESS facility to learn more about materials, unlocking discoveries and driving innovative solutions to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges in energy, health and the environment.

With the help of neutrons, scientists will be able to understand materials and matter at a deeper level than ever before, investigating deep inside objects, obeserving where the atoms are and how they behave. This can help researchers design new materials for better batteries, greener plastics or stronger engineering structures. Or, it could help life science researchers develop new vaccines or more effective medicines.

Up to 3,000 researchers from around the world will come to ESS each year to carry out experiments on samples of the materials they are studying.  Many will also visit MAX IV Laboratory, the neighbouring synchrotron light source, where they can get complementary data about their samples using X-rays.


At ESS, scientists will carry out research in the following areas:


Life Sciences


Magnetism & Superconductivity


Soft-Condensed Matter


Engineering & Geo-Sciences


Chemistry of Materials


Energy Research


Fundamental & Particle Physics


Archaeology & Heritage Conversation


Future Science

Curious about the future science at ESS? Read more here.

What are neutrons and why will we use them at ESS? Because neutrons have special properties making them a powerful tool for science. Find out more in this short video.

ESS is an accelerator-based neutron source designed to provide a large number of neutrons with the right energy for the researchers to use.
Neutrons are generated through a process called spallation and then slowed down to the desired energy and guided to the scientific instruments, as shown below.

Neutron instruments use different technologies to investigate various properties of materials.


The ESS facility at a glance. 

Download our poster in.  Swedish   |   English   |   Danish

Resources for teachers

Are you a teacher? Here you can find resources to download and useful links

Downloadable materials

Other materials

  • Accelerate Your Teaching! A new online course for teachers about using the stories of accelerator driven science to bring your lessons to life!
  • Videos: Why do we build large particle accelerators and what are they for? Hear from four scientists
  • Science in School: this is an online newsletter, packed with articles to help you to inspire, understand and teach the science behind large European research facilities.

Online seminars

Here we will tell you when there are interesting online seminars coming up

Title: "Forum to accelerate a global digital world"

Date: Thursday April 25, 2024

Time: 16:00 CET  (10:00 ET)

Speakers: Christine Darve (ESS), Stéphane Kenmoe (DESY), and Raïssa Malu (Education consultant in Congo)


Christine Darve, Stéphane Kenmoe, and Raïssa Malu will lead a forum on using digital platforms for promoting digital education in developing communities with topics including particle accelerator education, scientific communication, and community engagement.

Secure your spot by REGISTERING HERE and receive the Zoom link promptly

Dive into the treasure trove of PHYSICS MATTERS Colloquia Series at your convenience.


The colloquia series, "Physics for Development," is organized by the Forum on International Physics (FIP) at the American Physical Society (APS). 

 ►► Visit the PHYSICS MATTERS Past colloquia materials at your convenience and read more at " When Physics Matters ! 

Activities near Lund and Copenhagen

Here we will tell you about any upcoming related activities in the area


Registration is now open for The Big Bang Conference - Denmark's premier STEM teacher conference. 

It will run 20-21 March in Odense. 

A speaker from ESS will be there to give a workshop and information about a recent project producing an online resource for teachers (see above, 'Accelerate Your Teaching')

Registration, and further information on the Big Bang Conference here: https://bigbangkonferencen.dk/ 




DISCOVER      |       FOLLOW      |       SHARE