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The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) celebrates its 50 anniversary!

Its reactor has run more than 40.000 experiments since it was installed. Congratulations, ILL,50 years of neutrons!

21 September 2021
The Institut Laue-Langevin

“The Institut Laue Langevin (ILL) celebrates its 50 anniversary. 50 years delivering neutrons for research in a wide variety of scientific fields, among them Materials Science, of course. Along these years, and especially after Spain became an associated partner of ILL in 1987, plenty of researchers (and many ICMABers) have used this large scale facility. Throughout this time ILL has been at the forefront of neutron research.

Having access to the largest nuclear reactor devoted to scientific research in the world has been an invaluable boost to our research. Thanks a lot ILL for all these years of excellence!” – Carlos Frontera

ICMAB Researcher Carlos Frontera, from the Advanced Characterization and Nanostructured Materials (ACNM) Group, is one of the many researchers that have counted with the ILL, the largest nuclear reactor dedicated to science, across its 50 years of life. In this time, the reactor has run 43.000 experiments in 191 cycles, aiding in 400 PhD projects and more than 24.000 publications.

 WATCH: 50 years of science at the ILL!

It took 4 years to build this reactor that would start-up in August 1971. In the last 50 years, the ILL has kept the reactor up to date in order to meet the needs of modern research. Three main modernization programmes have kept the reactor at ILL pushing forward: a campaign called the Deuxième souffle or "Second wind", in 1979, that equipped it with cutting edge technology and modernized its installations; the second one, in 2012, to improve the security of the installations against earthquakes; and the recent “Endurance programme”, which addresses the reactor’s sample environment, data and software, as well as neutron guides and instruments.

Here is a timeline of the main events in the Institut Laue Langevin’s history:

A list of events in the history of ILL around the institution's logo.

Celebrating 50 years of Science and Innovation at ILL / ILL

More information


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