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Beamtime availability

Find information about beamtime allocation, shifs duration and schedule.



Each year, shut-down periods for maintenance and upgrade of the storage ring and the beamlines, are scheduled on a regular basis.
Except for the scheduled maintenance shut-downs, beamtime is expected to be available for users 24 hours a day, 5 days a week (from Wednesday to Sunday).
The dedicated day for machine studies and maintenance is on Monday.
For the moment, Tuesdays are devoted to radio protection tests.

For each allocation period, the schedule for beamline maintenance and upgrades, and for availability of beamtime for users is given (see. PDF icon Calendrier de fonctionnement (56.31 KB)).

The beamtime partition is as follows :

  • 65 % of beamtime is given to academic users having applied through the regular process of evaluation by the peer review committees;
  • 20 % for beamline maintenance, instrumentation and technical development, and for in-house research, under the responsibility of the Beamline Manager who reports on its use to the Scientific Directors; this percentage can be increased up to 25% in the case of a beamline with many associate scientists participating in its operation.
  • An additional fraction, up to 5%, can be left for rapid access at the discretion of the Scientific Directors.
  • Up to 10% of beamtime can be devoted to proposals with charge for admission.

Within the available period to users, the different modes of machine operation are indicated in the PDF icon Calendrier de fonctionnement (56.31 KB) (i.e. multibunch, 8 bunches, etc.).


Shifts duration


Beamtime are allocated in shifts, of 8 hours.
Shift timings are from 08:00 to 16:00, 16:00 to 24:00 and 00:00 to 08:00.
Experiments are principle programmed to start at either 08:00, 16:00 or midnight.
You are invited to come the day before or a few hours before particularly for the shift which begins at night, so that SOLEIL staff members are available to assist you in setting up experiments during normal working hours.
To optimise the schedule, beamtime is allocated in days by series of 3 x 8 hours shift blocks, but flexibility is kept to accommodate users who may require different numbers of shifts.
In some cases, on multi-branches beamlines, these 3 x 8 hours shifts blocks might be divided in order to optimise manpower on the experiments (beamtime sessions).




The Beamline Manager prepares the schedule of beamtime allocation for his/her beamline.
He/she ensures that the beamtime for a proposal over a 6-month allocation period is scheduled in time slots of appropriate lengths, separated from each other by 'technical' time intervals.
Preferred dates and unacceptable periods (declared while submitting proposal on the SUN set) are taken into account as much as possible, by the Beamline Manager.

Remote Access

SOLEIL offers the possibility to perform remote access experiments on all beamlines but for the moment only PROXIMA- 1,  PROXIMA- 2A and SWING beamlines offer this mode.

For the other beamlines, please contact the beamline manager to consider this possibility.


1. To apply for remote access

Either in Standard proposals or in MX/Bio SAXS BAG proposals, you can declare an interest for remote access directly from the proposal submission (within the “General” part on Beamlines TAB).

When expressing interest in remote access, your wish can be expressed as an approximate percentage of total beamtime requested by choosing a value from: 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%, respectively.

If the proposal is accepted, expressing interest in using remote access does not guarantee the remote access requested; the decision to grant remote access to the experiments will be taken by the Beamline Manager only after discussing and properly scheduling with the proposal main applicant and interested colleagues.

Accordingly, one or more sessions may be scheduled in remote access.


2. To apply for access before your experiment

2.1/ Sample selection

Please note that only samples classified (on the sample forms) as BioChemistry, Crystal, and Frozen, and which are given a green safety level (no risk) will be accepted for remote access sessions.

Other types of samples will not figure among the list of selectable samples for a remote access session.

2.2/ Participants declaration

Three types of participants can be distinguished, based on their access mode to the experiments.

  • On-site Participants

An On-site Participant physically comes at SOLEIL to take control of the beamline.

For these participants, ‘Dates’, ‘Subsidies’, ‘Guest house’ and ‘Computer’ parts have to be filled in the Participant form, as before. At least one on-site participant is mandatory until early 2018.


  • Remote Access Users

A Remote Access User can take control of the beamline from a geographically remote location during a session flagged as a remote access session. In the current situation, considering that a minimum of one On-site participant is required for the experiments, the Remote Access User cannot be the person responsible for  the session.

Remote Access Users can only be added for remote access sessions; an On-site participant for one remote access session thus cannot be a Remote Access User.

Providing a phone number is mandatory for a Remote Access User. By default the phone number indicated in the SUN set during the registration of the concerned user is indicated. Please, make sure that this phone number is up to date and that the Remote Access User participant can be contacted at this number during the totality of the flagged session when necessary. Additionally, please note that if you modify the phone number, the modified number will be pushed into the user account form.

Remote Access Users (as On-site Participants) can only be added or removed from in the participants list when the status of the declaration is indicated as ‘Not submitted’ status.

To add or remove participants from the list when the status is ‘Submitted’ or ‘Accepted’, please contact SOLEIL User Office.


  • Remote Users

Remote Users cannot take the control of the beamline or the experiments. These users are provided with access to the ISPyB database.

Contrary to the other types of users, Remote Users can be added to, or removed from, the participants list either in ‘Not submitted’, ‘Submitted’ or ‘Accepted’ status without any restrictions.

Remote Users need to be declared in the participants list.

Please also note the following:

    - The On-site Users are responsible for loading and unloading all the Unipucks, related to a remote access session, into the robot.

    - The On-site Users should arrive at 8.30 AM in order to listen to the instructions on the use of the beamline during the time of the remote access experiments.

    - In the instance of a difficulty in performing remote access experiments, the On-site Users take the responsibility to complete and fulfill the experiments locally.
      It should not be assumed that the work be done by the SOLEIL local  contact.

File SOLEIL local contact policy (14.42 KB) remains unchanged, and should be clearly agreed upon by all the experiment participants.

    - Dewar transfer and return forms are to be completed in case those need to be shipped back.

Would you require more information, please contact  SOLEIL User Office.

3. To prepare your experiments

To carry out remote access experiments at SOLEIL we recommend the following basics:

  • A good internet connection. You can test your connection to SOLEIL here (available soon).
  • No firewall for incoming communication that would block your connection to the beamline from your institution.
  • One monitor with a good resolution attached to a fast Linux running PC.

To have remote access control to the beamlines PROXIMA-1 and PROXIMA-2A at SOLEIL, you will need to get the middleware NoMachine (URL available soon) installed on your computer.

Access and use of the beamline instructions can be found on the PROXIMA-1 and PROXIMA-2A websites (available soon).

Further information can be provided upon contacting the beamline responsible staff.

No additional software should be required for accessing to the beamline control. Further instructions can be found on the following links:

  • Safety training (available soon),
  • Sample supports and description in ISPyB.

In terms of organisation, we require the Main proposer or the BAG coordinator to gather and collate ALL information related to the visit (number and codes of dry shippers; which pucks are in which shipper; which pucks are to be loaded) and to send this list to the local contact or to the beamline responsible at least 2 days before the visit (for weekend visits: by Wednesday afternoon).  This list should be send complementary to the information contained within the ISPyB database, and will only be used in case of major issue with the ISPyB server.

Additionally, the list must allow your local contact:

  • To rapidly check that the correct number of dry shippers have arrived at SOLEIL, so they can alert you in the eventuality of missing Dewars.
  • To effectively coordinate puck loading and unloading on SOLEIL’s side in case of logistics trouble - this can be a major logistical exercise, and we need your help.

4. To get the experiments started

On-site Users are given access to the beamline normally without additional requirements from SOLEIL side. However and as indicated above, it is highly recommended that all On-site Users are familiar with the scheduling of the experiments and logistics involved.

Among the information required to access the beamline control via MXCuBE (being locally or as a Remote Access User), the following details need to be known:

  • Proposal number and proposal password (these details are indicated within the SUN set, in ’Project account password’ function of experiment Management section),  
  • Contact details for SOLEIL Local Contact (including phone number).

First time users are encouraged to contact their local contact in the first instance to discuss any queries you may have.

Instructions to log in as a Remote Access User (PDF icon REMOTE ACCESS MANUAL (999.6 KB)).

(Last update, June 9th, 2023)