Xmas Beamline 20th anniversary, ESRF Synchrotron

by Samuele Lilliu | 20 October 2017

In September 2017 some 60 participants gathered together at the the European Synchrotron to celebrate 20 years of operation of the XMaS beamline.


In early 2017, I was invited by the XMaS beamline team to give a talk for the 20th anniversary of their beamline. I suggested that it would have been a great idea to capture some of the highlights of the various talks during the event, and the team happily agreed.

My journey took me from Cambridge to Grenoble via train. We carried the filming equipment in two heavy red suitcases. The trip was pleasant, although long.

I filmed most of the event using a Canon C200 mounted on an Easy Rig Flow Cine vest. After 3 hours of filming, I took off the vest and headed to the podium to give my own talk on GI-WAXS measurements on perovskite solar cells. I’m sure it was a curious sight for the other scientists to see a “camera operator” giving a scientific talk. The fact is that I’ve spent most of my career in scientific research, and later I moved to filmmaking.

The video production was successful and the XMaS team was pleased with the results. It was a great experience for me to be able to combine both of my passions for science and filmmaking.


On September 2017, a special anniversary celebration was held at the European Synchrotron (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the XMaS beamline, a UK National Research Facility funded by the UK funding agency EPSRC, and managed by the Universities of Liverpool and Warwick.

XMaS originally stood for X-ray Magnetic Scattering, as the beamline was primarily used for diffraction studies of magnetic materials. However, over the years XMaS has become a more widely-used facility, used for a variety of materials science studies and experiments.

At the anniversary celebration, some 60 participants gathered to celebrate the success of the XMaS beamline. The event featured a lecture by Professor John Finney, the chair of the XMaS Management Committee and a short movie showcasing 20 years of history and achievements.

Since its creation in 1997, the XMaS beamline has advanced the research of materials science and magnetic materials. It has been used to study a range of materials from metals, alloys, and ceramics, to biological materials and nanomaterials. This research has enabled the development of new materials and technologies, such as those used in the automotive and aerospace industries.

The XMaS beamline is an invaluable facility for materials science research and its anniversary celebration is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the XMaS team.