Since its inception in 1967, the Institut Laue - Langevin (ILL) has sought to become the most reliable neutron source for research and studies in the fields of material sciences, solid-state physics, chemistry, crystallography, molecular biology as well as nuclear and fundamental physics.
Owing to its high-flux reactor, which became operational in 1971, ILL operates one of the most intense neutron sources in the world, feeding some 40 experimental stations. Thanks to its outstanding infrastructure, the ILL has positioned itself at the forefront of neutron research. Every year several hundred scientists carry out their experiments and measurements at this unique research facility in Grenoble.
ILL's member state are France, Germany and the United Kingdom. ILL's scientific partners are: Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland and the consortiums CENI (Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) and TRANSNI (Belgium, Denmark and Sweden). With a staff of almost 500, ILL's operations cost its members and associates approximately EUR 90 million a year. Since ILL is a nuclear facility it is obliged to comply with heightened security requirements since the Fukushima accident, and in an industrial environment that has become generally difficult. Operating the facility has therefore become tougher but the fundamental importance of the services it supplies for research throughout the world amply justify the efforts of its members and associates.
Update programmes (Millennium and Endurance)
In order to ensure its leading position in world neutron science and further increase the performance of its infrastructure, ILL has been going through an update process since 2001 which is being carried out in two phases. The first, Millennium, which was completed in 2015, involved the installation of 14 new or completely overhauled instruments, including replacement of the neutron sources, enabling the multiplication of the rate of detection by a factor of 24. The second phase, Endurance, will be carried out in stages starting in 2015. It is expected to enable the installation of seven new instruments and the updating of four existing ones.
Switzerland's scientific partnership in ILL is based on an international treaty signed in 1988 which was extended by five years in 1993, 1998, 2004, 2008 and 2014. Switzerland is thus participating for a sixth five-year period (2014-2018) in this institute at the leading edge of world research into neutron diffusion. Its annual contribution in 2015 was CHF 4 million, representing 3.5% of ILL's budget, which determines the rate of utilisation of the facility for Swiss researchers. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is responsible for Switzerland's participation in ILL. The use and maintenance of ILL infrastructure creates substantial orders for Swiss industry. The Swiss Industry Liaison Office is responsible for promoting relations between Swiss companies and ILL.
Head of the Swiss delegation to the ILL Steering Committee
Head of International Research Organisations Unit
T +41 58 462 34 52
Swiss representative to the Sub-committee for finance and administrative matters concerning ILL (SAQ)
Scientific Advisor, International Cooperation in Research and Innovation Division
T +41 58 462 89 42