Laboratório Nacional
de Luz Síncrotron



Yves Petroff takes over as Director of the LNLS


French physicist was Director-General of the largest European synchrotron between 1993 and 2001 and LNLS’ Scientific Director from 2009 to 2013

In ceremony held on the morning of August 29th, Yves Pierre Petroff became Director of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS). Yves Petroff was LNLS’ Scientific Director from November 2009 to March 2013. During the ceremony, Rogério Cesar de Cerqueira Leite, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CNPEM, and Antonio José Roque da Silva, CNPEM’s Director-General and former LNLS Director, highlighted Pretroff’s competence and his history within LNLS.

Petroff speaks during the ceremony, joined by Rogério Cesar de Cerqueira Leite, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), and Antonio José Roque da Silva, Director-General of the Center.


Yves Petroff is one of the world’s leading specialists in the use of synchrotron light. He received his doctorate in physics from the Ecole Normale Supèrieure of the University of Paris in 1970.

Later, he went to the University of California, Berkeley, from 1971 to 1975. During this period, Yves Petroff worked on the investigation of optical properties of solids, having made important developments in the area of Resonant Raman  Effect.

In the early 1970s, the first generation of synchrotron accelerators began to be built, focused primarily on particle physics. In 1975, Yves Petroff returned to France to work in the ACO, one of the first synchrotrons in the world, located in Orsay. Pioneering work was performed by Petroff’s team on the use of synchrotron light to understand the properties of solids. His group was also the first in the world to build a Free Electron Laser in the region of visible light.

Between 1977 and 1980, Petroff was Deputy-Director of LURE (Laboratoire pour l’utilization du rayonnement électromagnétique – officially created to be the French synchrotron located in Orsay), and Director of LURE from 1980 to 1990. During this period, he transformed LURE into one of the world leaders in the use of synchrotron light in UV and soft X-rays, opening perspectives to new areas of research such as structural molecular biology, atomic and molecular physics. Petroff led the construction of the new LURE storage ring, SuperACO, which replaced ACO, and led the construction of several beamlines.

Between 1993 and 2001, Petroff was Director-General of the largest European Synchrotron and one of the largest in the world: the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), located in Grenoble, France. Between 2001 and 2003, he was Assistant to the Director of ALS (Advanced Light Source), at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA. From 2003 to 2005, Petroff worked at the French Ministry of Research, responsible for large scientific facilities, and between 2005 and 2008 he was a member of the European Scientific Forum for Research Infrastructure (ESFRI).

In addition to his research and management activities, Yves Petroff was president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) from 2002 to 2005. He served on numerous scientific committees of several international laboratories, published more than 150 papers in indexed journals, and delivered more than 140 invited lectures at international conferences.

From the perspective of the development of science in Brazil, Petroff was LNLS’ Scientific Director between 2009 and 2013. After this period, Petroff remained as a collaborator, closely following CNPEM’s activities and its National Laboratories, in particular the LNLS .