14 Sep 2009



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

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​IMAT design outline

IMAT (Imaging and Materials Science & Engineering) is a neutron imaging and diffraction instrument for a broad range of materials sciences. Non-destructive and in-situ testing of materials is vital to a number of industries including aerospace and transportation, civil engineering, power generation, energy storage, earth sciences, palaeontology, cultural heritage and agriculture.

IMAT currently provides neutron radiography, neutron tomography, and energy-resolved neutron imaging, with the following features:

  • the ability to cope with small samples, and heavy samples up to 1.5 tonnes
  • a field of view of up to 20x20 cm2
  • a spatial 3D resolution of 60 microns
  • state-of-the-art reconstruction techniques
  • contrast enhancement and mapping of structure parameters

Diffraction detectors will be installed in the near future. This will enable spatially-resolved neutron strain scanning, crystallographic phase analysis and texture analysis.

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. An important feature of IMAT will be tomography-driven diffraction. 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 was built with support from the Italian Research Council (CNR) and the Swedish Research Council (VR). Two large diffraction detector arrays at 90 degree scattering angles were funded by a project led by Prof. S. Erikss​on from Chalmers University Gothenburg, Sweden. Energy-resolved neutron imaging is enabled by a detector based on microchannel plates (MCP) developed by Dr. A. Tremsin at Berkeley, USA, and by a CMOS (“GP2") detector developed in collaboration with Oxford University.


Further information:

W. Kockelmann, T. Minniti, D.E. Pooley, G. Burca et al., Time-of-Flight Neutron Imaging on IMAT@ISIS: A New User Facility for Materials Science. J. Imaging 4 (2018) 47, 10.3390/jimaging4030047 

G. Burca, W. Kockelmann, J.A. James, M.E. Fitzpatrick, Modelling of an imaging beamline at the ISIS pulsed neutron source, ​Journal of Instrumentation, 8 (2013), no 10,

T. Minniti, K. Watanabe, G. Burca, D.E. Pooley, W. Kockelmann, Characterization of the new neutron imaging and materials science facility IMAT, NIMA, A 888 (2018) 184–195.

​Location and contact information for the Imat instrument

Telephone01235 445561