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gamma tomography after neutron irradiation

A test whether we can image milligrams of metals tomographically using the SPECT scanner. These tomographic scanners are used for medical imaging, but here we have use neutrons to generate the gamma isotopes.

Milligrams of metals can still be tomographically imaged. The tomographic data was collected hours after the neutron irradiation.

A look around the 3D reconstructed gamma tomogram of milligrams of different materials, irradiated with neutrons.

This example serves to demonstrate the feasibility of the principle and approximately sets the lower limit of the dimensions we can 3D reconstruct (millimeters). The limit is mostly determined by the mass of these tiny (milligrams!) test objects, linked to the neutron flux which results in the gamma brilliance.

A collaboration between Marlies Goorden (Beekman group, dep. RST, fac. Applied Sciences) and Lambert van Eijck (Pappas group, dep. RST, fac. Applied Sciences) with the excellent help from RID Mehmet Sarilar (INAA), Rob Kreuger (Beekman group), Arend van Duijn (HOR/TD), under supervision of Henk van Doorn (SBD).

What can neutron imaging do for textile research

A significant part of cultural heritage contains textile in some shape or form. Inspired by the recent NICAS colloquium and match day, we decided to investigate piece of textile from a left-over symposium bag with neutron tomography. The piece of cloth was folded over a few times, inspired by a discussion with Paulien Coopmans on possibilities to investigate 17th century wardrobe textile, non-invasively.

The piece of textile was folded and put in an aluminium container for tomography measurement.

As shown in the reconstruction, the threads and patterns of the textile can be observed clearly. This example could be a showcase for neutron imaging application in textile art samples.

A screenshot from the 3D rendering of the tomographic reconstruction.

Status update

Long time no see! Although the FISH proposal was unfortunately rejected last year, we are not giving up on developing a neutron imaging station at our research reactor in Delft.

Over the last year, we have built a temporary imaging station on an existing beam line L2 next to our neutron powder diffractometer Pearl in the reactor hall. This low budget imaging station will serve to make a showcase for applications of neutron imaging and offer a strong support for the new FISH proposal. These developments also provide us with valuable experiences in developing and operating an imaging station.

In fact, with the help of our colleagues of the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland and their camera setup, this temporary instrument is performing so well that we now focus more on its exploitation in science and engineering. We are now in the outreach phase to explore all possible applications and at the same time we see that the next gain that can be achieved for us is to optimize the way in which we collect data at the instrument (real time adaptive tomography). Similarly, the actual reconstruction of collected data into 3D models is as well a focus point in the near future where we foresee considerable gain.

Baby FISH setup on L2 beam line


We would like to thank our colleagues in Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) for lending us a Midi camera box for the last two and half months. We have performed many test measurements with this detector system. Some nice images and videos are going to be posted in the blog soon!

fresh examples on the other page!

The “Examples” page in the tabs on the top of the web site contain some neutron images and movies, taken at a TU Delft neutron test beam line. These are meant to trigger you with some ideas of what can be done with neutron imaging. There’s no data treatment, low resolution and no dark-field or beam-inhomogeneity corrections!

proposal for FISH submitted!

for the weblogThe next step is the reviewing process by NWO; by October 2015 we should get feedback on how the proposal is ranked.

cylinder lock

A typical cylinder lock that we bought from the DIY hardware store, imaged with neutrons: despite the low intensity of the neutron beam and the medium resolution of the detector, this example does demonstrate what the particular capabilities are of the future FISH neutron imaging station: the interior mechanics (including the key coding levers and even the springs) are visualized without taking the lock apart.

Neutron imaging at low intensity and low resolution can already reveal the interior of a door lock. FISH will do this 10 times faster at higher resolution.

Neutron imaging at low intensity and low resolution can already reveal the interior of a door lock. FISH will do this 10 times faster at higher resolution.

This non-invasiveness of the technique can be beneficial in solving many scientific and technological questions. As an example we show a short movie, starting with a ‘clean lock’ and then spraying some WD-40 lubricant (also bought from the DIY shop) in the ‘key entry’. The lock is place vertically in the beam (one lock entry on top, one on the bottom) and with time, you see some of the lubricant flowing to the bottom. Again: non-invasive. Inner lubrification using even tiny amounts of very very viscous WD-40 is visible.

Redistribution of lubricant over 5h30m in 10sec steps:
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Redistribution of lubricant over 3hm in 10sec steps, starting from a clean cylinder:

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fruitful discussions!

The FISH workshop held in Utrecht last week was very fruitful indeed. Many people in the audience had no experience with neutrons at all and the experts showed them around in the field of imaging. The feedback session held and organised by Fleur and Daphne wrapped up the formal part: the user community gave their ideas/outlook on what they would like to do FISH, once it is built. This session gave a nice overview of what is needed and where the priorities are, which serves as an input for ranking the instrument capabilities. Discussions and brainstorming continued during the drinks-session.

Discussions during one of the presentations of the FISH workshop in the Karel V in Utrecht.

Discussions during one of the presentations of the FISH workshop in the Karel V in Utrecht.

FISH workshop

Hereby we announce the FISH workshop to be held in Utrecht on the 17th of April 2015! If you are a potential user of neutron imaging from science or industry, this workshop is for you: experts from the field will present the current state-of-the-art in neutron imaging and we will explain our plans to build a neutron imaging station in Delft. For which we need your input, because the different capabilities of the instrument should be ranked according the highest demand.

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Delft @ NEUWAVE 5

The imaging workshop NEUWAVE in Lund Sweden is taking place at the moment. FISH is there mostly to learn about what’s going on and what the newest developments are.

The Neuwave logo with the famous bridge between Sweden and Denmark in the back.

top ranking by international advisory committee

FISH was ranked Number 2, just behind the PEARL neutron diffractometer by an international advisory committee that assessed the capabilities opened up by the OYSTER Program. Good news for FISH, since this helps to start working and try to get funding for the work!