Italy participates to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF: www.Esrf.fr) in Grenoble. Most beamlines were constructed and are managed directly by ESRF, while additional Collaborating Research Group (CRG) beamlines were constructed by external groups. Italy constructed the GILDA beamline (www.lnf.infn.it/esperimenti/puls), which provides a high flux X-ray beam of mm2 size in the energy range 4-80 KeV. The installed instruments allow performing X-ray absorption spectroscopy in transmission, fluorescence, total yield and REFLEXAFS mode, in the temperature range 4-1000 K, as well as time resolved powder diffraction with a translating imaging plate detector. An ultra high vacuum chamber is available for x-ray absorption studies on surfaces.
Other Italian activities at ESRF regard the development of an high resolution X-ray spectrometer for inelastic scattering in the meV regime installed on the ID26 beamline, the development of an inelastic soft X-ray scattering apparatus installed on the ID08 beamline, and the construction of a general support laboratory.
The Italian activities on the use of available instrumentation and development of new ones for neutron diffraction and spectroscopy are based at the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France; www.ill.fr ) and at ISIS (Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, UK; www.isis.rl.ac.uk) ).
At the ILL Italian teams from INFM (Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia) are involved in two CRGs: IN13 and BRISP, two instruments dedicated to study diffraction by non-crystalline media.
At ISIS, already in the eighties, the CNR funded a project for building PRISMA, an inverse geometry crystal analyser spectrometer and high resolution diffractometer. In the nineties TOSCA, an instrument for molecular spectroscopy was built in collaboration with UK groups.
Several Italian groups have performed experiments on diffraction instruments at ISIS (SXD, POLARIS, HRPD, GEM) and ILL (D19, D1, D2) obtaining important structural results in the fields of chemical crystallography, materials science, mineralogy and polymer chemistry where the peculiar advantages of neutrons over X-rays as structural probe are outstanding.
Settimio Mobilio and Antonio Deriu