Particle and nuclear

4 ESRF projects ATTRACT funding

May 22, 2019

ATTRACT, a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project funded by the European Union and backed by a consortium of 9 partners including the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, Grenoble, France, has announced that 170 breakthrough ideas will each receive €100,000 to develop innovative technologies. A kick-off meeting being held at CERN in Geneva will start the clock on a one-year countdown for the selected proposals to prove the scientific merit and innovation potential of their cutting-edge detection and imaging technologies.

The projects selected for funding were drawn from a pool of more than 1,200 proposals from researchers and entrepreneurs in scientific and industrial organisations across the world. An Independent Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I) Committee used a rigorous evaluation process to determine which of these proposals should receive €100,000 of funding.

“170 breakthrough ideas were selected based on a combination of scientific merit, innovation readiness and potential societal impact,” explained Sergio Bertolucci, chair of ATTRACT’s Independent R&D&I Committee. “The idea is to speed up the process of developing breakthrough technologies and applying them to address society’s key challenges.”
4 ESRF projects are among the 170 selected. Four ESRF projects will receive a €100,000 of funding each for: algebraic speckle tomography for clinical studies of osteoarticular diseases; a novel readout concept for the front-end of 2D pixelated detectors; the transferral of indium-gallium-nitride epilayers onto substrates for full-spectrum LEDs; and artificial intelligence for the automatic segmentation of volumetric microtomography images such as Egyptian mummies.

“ATTRACT is a new way to demonstrate that the advances in experimental scientific research provide opportunities to innovate in industry, creating new knowledge as well as a competitive edge for our society. I am very pleased with the overwhelming number of applications submitted to the ATTRACT initiative.” says Francesco Sette, DG of the ESRF ( “The ESRF is very proud to be associated with four projects supported by ATTRACT, all of which represent areas of X-ray detection critical to the advancement of X-ray science. ATTRACT has an exciting future and provides real opportunities to develop European industry in areas such as medical imaging, environmental analyses and the characterisation of new materials. Most of all, ATTRACT opens a new paradigm where pioneering scientific ideas are used to fuel innovation for the benefit of all European citizens.”


List of the 4 ESRF projects

– ASPECT (Algebraic SPECkle Tomography) ASPECT will make it possible to use phase contrast tomography on standard existing X-ray tomographic medical devices. Using a new and simple computational and experimental approach, ASPECT will extend the application of phase contrast imaging from the realm of the synchrotron to routine clinical exams. The new type of information provided to radiologists will revolutionise the early diagnosis of osteoarticular diseases, which are linked to chronic pain and long-term disabilities, with hundreds of millions of people affected worldwide.

– InGaN-FULL-SPECTRUM (Strain relaxation of In-rich InGaN layers for full-spectrum microLED displays) This project proposes the transferral of indium-gallium-nitride epilayers onto substrates for fullspectrum LEDs. It will address a key challenge to give rise to a huge market for displays and microdisplays based on nitride mini and micro-LEDs, representing a potential multi-billion euro market essentially for virtual and augmented reality devices and beyond.

– ASEMI (Automated SEgmentation of Microtomography Imaging) ASEMI aims to develop and use artificial intelligence techniques for the automatic segmentation of volumetric microtomography images, such as images of Egyptian mummies. Microtomography is an X-ray imaging technique based on the same principle as the medical scanner. This technology is able to provide 3D images to visualise the structure of materials in a non-invasive and non-destructive way, with applications in cultural heritage, materials research, life sciences, biomedical research and paleontology, where the ESRF has developed a unique expertise.

– DINPAD (Digital-integration front-end for high dynamic range pixel area detectors) This project aims at validating a novel readout concept for the front-end of 2D pixelated X-ray detectors that is under development by the ESRF and the University of Heidelberg. Although DINPAD targets experiments at the new generation of high-energy storage rings, the new scheme can be potentially applied to other scientific cases.

The 170 ATTRACT projects

Details of the 170 funded projects are being released today, and are grouped into four broad categories; data acquisition systems and computing; front-end and back-end electronics; sensors; and software and integration.

Most of the breakthrough ideas, — 64% — will develop next-generation technologies involving sensors, 16% will focus on data-acquisition systems and computing, 12% are software and integration projects, and 8% will develop the front and back-end electronics needed for the interfaces of sensors and imaging technology.


• ATTRACT website

• The 170 ATTRACT projects


[1] The ATTRACT initiative involves the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European XFEL, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), Aalto University, the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) and ESADE. The initiative is led by CERN and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

ATTRACT is a pioneering initiative bringing together Europe’s fundamental research and industrial communities to lead the next generation of detection and imaging technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 777222, the project aims to help revamp Europe’s economy and improve people’s lives by creating products, services, companies and jobs. More info at

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