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About EMIR&A

EMIR&A is the French national accelerator network dedicated to the studies of irradiation of materials and molecules and/or to their analysis by using ion beams. It gathers 15 advanced ion and electron accelerators and in situ
instruments with unique performances, installed on 11 platforms, distributed over 6 sites (Caen, Orléans, Orsay, Palaiseau, Paris, Saclay). The EMIR&A facilities are complementary to one another, regarding the accelerated particles, the available energies and the available instrumentation.

EMIR&A aims to connect the scientific communities that study condensed matter with ion or electron accelerators, and to establish new collaborations through the pooling of these instruments and the associated expertise. It also promotes harmonisation of scientific approaches, the upward alignment of equipment and
practices, and the optimization of resources at the national scale. The platforms are organised as a network in order to offer a single portal for hosting external experiments, to create links between them and between users and to promote their development.

EMIR&A gives access to beam time to a large and complementary panel of state-of-the-art accelerator facilities for research dedicated to the physics and chemistry of materials and liquids for national and international scientific community.

The accelerators and the in situ instrumentations allow to perform fundamental and more applied research, either to understand the modifications induced by ions and electrons in materials and molecules, or to analyze materials using accelerated ions. The applications are diverse: energy (including nuclear energy), electronics, space, geology, …

How does it work?

EMIR&A operates as a large delocalized instrument and opens the access to several types of advanced accelerators and associated expertise through the submission of proposals.

Two types of submission are possible. Once a year, EMIR&A launches a call for experiment proposals dedicated to irradiation experiments of materials and molecules and to wide-ranging ion-beam analysis. Pump priming studies and short-duration ion-beam analyses can be proposed throughout the year. All proposals go through an independent scientific evaluation by reviewers and an International Scientific Committee. The accepted experiments are partly financially supported up to now by the facilities, however a user’s participation is required for most of the facilities. The accepted project is carried out thanks to the expertise of specialists from the concerned platform(s).

The EMIR&A International Scientific Committee gives its selection of proposals each year based on the reviewers’ reports, and provides its expertise for the scientific strategy of the network. This committee is replaced by a third on average every two years.

The EMIR&A executive and steering Committees monitor the scientific, strategic and administrative management of the federation.


This network was created in 2009 with the support of CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), and became in 2014 a CNRS Research Federation (FR 3618) under the auspices of three CNRS Institutes, namely Institute of Physics, (INP) Institute of Chemistry, (INC) and Institute of Nuclear Physics and Particles Physics (IN2P3). It was initially known as EMIR (‘Etude des Matériaux sous IRradiation’ – Study of Materials under Irradiation), and became EMIR&A in 2019, to include both ion beam analysis of materials, and irradiation and radiolysis of molecules and materials.

EMIR&A is today one of the existing Research Infrastructures of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, in the field of Material Sciences and Engineering. It was included in the 2018 national “infrastructure” strategy, and is now included in the 2021-2025 roadmap.

What to do with EMIR&A

The equipment of the EMIR&A accelerator network allows to :

  • Study irradiation effects in solids, in a large range of energies (from keV to GeV) and particles (ions, electrons), including single, dual and triple ion beams. These are unique tools to understand solid properties, to create controlled damage, and to understand the evolution of material microstructure and properties under irradiation.
  • Study radiolysis effects (using ions or electrons) and rapid kinetics processes using ps pulsed beams
  • Perform in situ physical and chemical characterizations of materials, with ions or electrons, using the techniques listed in the table below. For example chemical composition, crystallographic structure, electrical properties, …
  • Perform Ion Beam Analysis of materials : elemental composition including light elements, isotopic tracing for corrosion studies or oxidation growth, diffusion mechanisms, disorder evolution, thickness determination of thin layers, …etc. Several IBA techniques are available : RBS, RBS-C, NRA, PIGE, ERDA, PIXE, MEIS, ToF-SIMS, …

Various classes of materials can be studied using EMIR&A facilities.

All the EMIR&A equipment :

Ion accelerators for irradiation of materials and molecules
Ion accelerators for ion beam analysis
Electron accelerators
In situ characterization devices coupled to accelerators