Nine leading particle accelerator facilities around Europe (FR, ES, DE, UK, CH and SE) invite potentially interested bidders to participate in the open market consultation of their upcoming pre-commercial procurement. The aim is to develop and test new solutions that can improve the quality of X-ray mirrors for European researchers. The challenge is to manufacture 500 mm long flat silicon X-ray prototype mirrors with greatly improved surface quality. 

The Challenges

Recent developments in accelerator design and enabling technologies have triggered the construction of a new generation of synchrotron and free electron laser X-ray light sources.

These facilities offer X-ray beams of unprecedented quality – typically 100 times brighter than the previous sources and 10 trillion times brighter than medical X-ray sources. Exploiting the full potential of these X-ray beams for user experiments requires parallel developments in many areas of instrumentation.

One of the key areas where quality improvements are required is in the domain of X-ray optics. In particular, the required quality of the X-ray mirrors which, among other roles, modify the energy spectrum of the beam, is beyond the current state-of-the-art.

The Superflat pre-commercial procurement (PCP) is focused upon the outsourcing of R&D services to develop processes for the manufacture of moderate length flat X-ray mirrors with greatly improved surface quality.

Such mirrors will be used in applications contributing to tackling global challenges in key areas including health, environment, energy and new industrial materials. Their impact will extend beyond the facilities represented by the Superflat consortium to cover the large number of new accelerator-based X-ray sources throughout the world.

Superflat builds upon existing expertise in European research infrastructures and industry to provide financial support to companies and researchers. At the heart of this funding initiative with industry is the pre-commercial procurement tool. In this process the consortium will place contracts for the R&D via a competitive tender process.

The Open Market Consultation

An Open Market Consultation for the Superflat PCP will be held on 19 November 2021 starting at 9 am (CET). This information meeting will be hosted by the ESRF as a virtual, zoom webinar, event.

Prior to issue of the PCP call for tenders, an Open Market Consultation with potential tenderers and end-users is being held to present the views of the market about the intended scope of the Research and Development. The results of this open market consultation will be used to fine-tune the tender specifications, so that the gap between state-of-the art industry development and the procurement needs is appropriately filled by the procured R&D services.

Attendance of the Open Market Consultation is actively encouraged but is not a prerequisite for participation in the Superflat PCP.

More information on this tender can be obtained on the website Tenders electronic daily.


This event is open to all but requires prior registration via the Zoom webinar portal. You will be directed to an external link where you will be required to register with a valid e-mail address.

For more information on this challenge, please visit this page




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