Skip to main content


XMaS, an EPSRC supported National Research Facility, is a synchrotron beamline embedded in the heart of the European Photon and Neutron (EPN) Science Campus in Grenoble, France. We have been supporting users since 1997 and supports 150 active research groups from over 65 UK and international universities covering research in materials science, physics, chemistry, soft condensed matter as well as biomaterials and healthcare. Last year alone we provided training to ~50 new users and ~60 early career scientists. We support interdisciplinary projects and contribute directly to societal challenges such as energy storage and recovery, the digital economy and advances in healthcare technologies as well as contributing to the wider UK research infrastructure.

XMaS has continually evolved to meet a broad range of scientific challenges and this has required continual development of novel x-ray metrologies as well as sample environments and beam conditioning components. We currenlty holds 9 commerical licence agreements Huber GmbH, American Magnetics Inc., National Physical Laboratory and Advanced Research Systems generating over £1M of sales.

Through large collaborative projects we are developing new capabiltiies and tehcnqieus closely aligned with energy materials. Our recent developments now enable us to measure simultanesouly the electrical polarisation and strucural changes (on both the macroscopic and atomic sclae) that arise in ferroelectric materials as an electric field is applied at cycling rates of upto ~1MHz. We are currently working with the 5G centre at the University of Surrey, IBM Zurich, the US Naval labs and Electrosciences Ltd to exploit these developments in the next generation of telecommunication switches, radar and potentially new computer memories exploting strain mediated transistor devices to replace current technology and overcome the current energy crisis in Si-based devices. We are also working on expanding our green chemistry and catalysis research programs in partnership with British Petroleum, the catalysis Hub at RAL and Johnson Matthey.



im1 How new battery tech could help smartphones consume 100 times less power.

im2 Reinstating Moore’s Law: a next-generation transistor for mobile technology.

im3 Could piezoelectrics solve the smartphone battery conundrum?

im4 Nanostrain provides hope for battery drain.


We actively engage in promoting science and scientific careers through our outreach activities. A highlight is the annual Science Galas [~330 members of the public interacting with over 30 exhibitors] held at both the Universities of Liverpool and Warwick in partnership with our STEM collaborators.

We run an annual competetion for year 12 female students - "XMaS Scientist Experience" where we take 16 winners from around the country on a life changing trip to the EPN campus where they participated in the Synchrotron@School program. The aim of the XMaS Scientist experience is to encourage young women to consider careers in STEM by showing them possible job opportunities and introducing them to inspirational role models in an international setting. The trip received a lot of attention on social media (@XMaSSchoolTrip) as well as blogs on the WISE Campaign, plotr, Science grrl and girlmuseum. We have formed strong partnerships with these organisations as well as STEMettes, BIG BANG, Uppsala University, CERN, IGGY, Ogden Trust Network and the National Science Centres in addressing the gender balance problem.