X-rays have long been one of the major techniques used in the characterisation and investigation of materials. With the advent of dedicated synchrotron light sources a large, and increasing, number of new methods has become available for studies in materials science.
In this talk, the wide range of experimental techniques available at Europe's most advanced synchrotron light source, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), will be summarised. The ESRF, which is funded by a total of 17 Member and Associate countries, operates a 6 GeV electron storage ring producing very intense x-ray beams with energies from below 1 keV to several hundred keV. Each year over 3000 scientific users carry out some 1200 experiments on the 40 beamlines at ESRF; a large number of these beamlines are involved in materials science research.
Illustrative examples from methods including diffraction, EXAFS, XMCD and imaging will be described, and future developments and trends discussed.