A pioneer in research with synchrotron radiation, Francesco Sette spent eight years at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey (USA). Whilst in the United States, Sette co-invented the world’s first high-energy-resolution, high-intensity soft X-ray source, which quickly found its way into many synchrotron light facilities around the globe.
Sette became a staff member of the ESRF in 1991, where, as a group leader, he developed a new generation of inelastic X-ray scattering beamlines which made it possible to study atomic motions and electronic properties of condensed matter in unexplored momentum-energy phase space regions.
In 2001, Sette became Director of Research at the ESRF, playing a pivotal role in the conception and launch of the ESRF Upgrade Programme 2009-2018. On 1 January 2009, he took up the post of Director General, on a five-year term. Sette is the fourth Director General of the ESRF.
Sette has served as a member of the Advisory Committees of major light sources, including The European X-FEL in Hamburg (Germany), the LCLS at Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory (USA) and the Scientific Council at DESY.