Combined Neutron Imaging and Diffraction: Instrumentation and Experimentation

Burca, Genoveva (2013). Combined Neutron Imaging and Diffraction: Instrumentation and Experimentation. PhD thesis The Open University.



A combined neutron imaging and diffraction facility, IMAT (Imaging and Materials Science & Engineering) is developed at ISIS (Target Station 2).

One subject of this thesis was focused on the design and optimization of the imaging part of IMAT, using the Monte Carlo calculation software package McStas. Hence, the neutron guide dimensions, the effects of the gaps in the neutron guide on imaging detectors, gravitation effects in the neutron guide and also the influence of the pinhole size on the image were studied. All these investigations were made taking into account the most important design criteria: to maximise the neutron flux, to obtain a good energy resolution whilst retaining a large neutron bandwidth and a long flight path and to minimize the artefacts obtained in the neutron radiographies.

After a compromise between imaging, diffraction and engineering requirements had been reached, the results from simulations specific to the current IMAT design were studied: wavelength distribution, beam profiles at different points along the beamline, beam divergence, neutron intensity distribution and flux depending on the pinhole size and the wavelength bands. Moreover, generation of IMAT imaging data with a sample led to full tomographic simulations and modelling wavelength effects.

Another objective of the thesis was to study the complementarity between neutron imaging and neutron diffraction experiments. For this, a new instrument control concept that exploits tomography data to guide diffraction experiments on samples with complex structures and shapes named “tomography driven diffraction” (henceforth, TDD) was developed. The method has been proved to be viable using combinations of individual tomography and diffraction instruments: NEUTRA (PSI) and ENGIN-X (ISIS) for different samples drawn from the engineering and heritage sciences. On IMAT it will be possible to perform tomography, mark the measurement points and proceed to the diffraction measurements as one continuous process.

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