14 Sep 2009



A neutron imaging and diffraction instrument for materials science, materials processing and engineering.

​​​​​​​​​​​IMAT design outline

IMAT (Imaging and Materials Science & Engineering) is a neutron imaging and diffraction instrument for materials science, materials processing and engineering. The special features of the instrument will be energy-selective neutron imaging and the combination of neutron imaging and neutron diffraction. Currently IMAT is under engineering commissioning.

IMAT will offer a combination of imaging and spatially resolved diffraction modes such as neutron radiography, neutron tomography, energy-selective imaging, neutron strain scanning, crystallographic structure and phase analysis, texture analysis, and non-destructive testing.

A broad range of imaging and diffraction applications will be possible for aerospace and transportation, civil engineering, power generation, earth sciences, cultural heritage and agriculture.

Many projects will require only one analysis technique, but having diffraction and imaging options on the same beamline will enable new types of experiments to be performed, especially considering the ease with which energy-selective measurements can be carried out on a pulsed source [1].

An important feature of IMAT will be tomography-driven diffraction [2]. Residual stresses inside engineering-sized samples can be more effectively analysed if the diffraction scans are guided by radiographic data. Diffraction analysis may be indispensable for a quantitative analysis and physical interpretation of the attenuation features observed in energy-dependent radiography data.

The instrument will be built in several stages. In the first instance, there ​will be two imaging cameras available: a gated CCD camera and a time-of-flight capable high-resolution pixel detector. The CCD camera system is being developed in collaboration with the Italian Research Council (CNR) by the group of F. Aliotta, IPCF-CNR, Messina. A time-of-flight imaging system taking full advantage of the pulsed source will use a detector based on microchannel plates developed by a group led by A. Tremsin at the Space Science Department, Berkeley, USA. Two large pixellated diffraction detectors at 90 degree scattering angles will be installed for diffraction analysis.

Further diffraction detectors at forward and backscattering angles will be installed in subsequent upgrade stages enabling in-situ texture studies in combination with phase, strain, and imaging analyses at non-ambient sample conditions.​


[1] W. Kockelmann, G. Frei, E.H. Lehmann, P. Vontobel, J.R. Santisteban, Energy-selective neutron transmission imaging at a pulsed source, Nucl. Instr. Meth. A, 578, 421-434 (2007)

[2] G. Burca, J.A. James, W. Kockelmann, M.E. Fitzpatrick et al., A new bridge technique for neutron tomography and diffraction measurements, Nucl. Instr. Meth. A, 651 (1), 229-235 (2011)

Contact information for Imat​

Location and contact information for the Imat instrument

Telephone01235 445561