Support Labs and Facilities

ESS will be part of the future suite of European research infrastructures providing experimental possibilities to research from both academia and industry. For its scientific success, ESS has to be governed by the scientific needs of its users.

The performance gain of ESS will enable experiments on more challenging samples in an adequate (extreme) environment. Using available (potentially smaller) samples enables ESS to provide results in the stream of research performed at university and industry. For an efficient and successful use of beam time, many samples will have to be prepared or conditioned on-site using adequate facilities. It is, however, important to distinguish between what should be done at the home institutions and what ESS should provide in order to guarantee successful neutron experiments. Since beam time is a precious resource, it is relevant to help users ensuring the measured sample has the expected characteristics and has not, for example, been damaged during travel. The facilities will complement those available at the home institute or at the specialised local infrastructure, and will take the special requirements of neutron samples (isotope substitution, special containment) into account. The sample flow is illustrated above, indicating the core activities performed on site (cyan) and supplementary activities concerning sample preparation when justified (purple). The supplementary activities require dedicated access modes and mid-term involvement of the user group.


Safety is of utmost importance and samples have to be handled safely before, during, and after the experiments. Potential risks will be taken into account, such as radioactive material, biological and chemical hazards, as well as toxicity. Appropriate and safe handling are prerequisites for a successful research project. Waste disposal for both nuclear and conventional waste has to be established, and zoning should be planned so as to ease sample handling between the various labs. Given the size of the facility and the distances involved, logistics and infrastructure (pathways) have to be provided ensuring transport of sample, equipment and users.


The technical support required prior to and during a user visit is related to a specific experiment. For this, workshops are required close to the instruments. Mechanical workshops and technical capabilities are required to prepare items in a timely manner for running the user programme. The necessary lab facilities in the controlled areas all provide the possibility to condition the samples promptly before the experiment by an adequate number of users. Such facilities include sample handling, preparation, and storage. Temporary storage of samples in adequate conditions will be provided.


Available neutron test beamlines will be used, not only for instrument development but also scientific feasibility studies and sample characterisation when necessary.


The menu items provide details of specific laboratory requirements for the different key scientific areas.