Overview of the Neutron Radiography and Computed Tomography at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Applications

Historically and for more than four decades, neutron imaging (NI) facilities have been installed exclusively at continuous (i.e. reactor-based) neutron sources rather than at pulsed sources. This is mainly due to (1) the limited number of accelerator-based facilities and therefore the fierce competition for beam lines with neutron scattering instruments, (2) the limited flux available at accelerator-based neutron sources and finally, (3) the lack of high efficiency imaging detector technology capable of time-stamping pulsed neutrons with sufficient time resolution. Recently completed high flux pulsed proton-driven neutron sources such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the Japanese Spallation Neutron Source (JSNS) of the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) in Japan produce high neutron fluxes that offer new and unique opportunities for NI techniques. Pulsed-based neutron imaging facilities RADEN and IMAT are currently being built at J-PARC and the Rutherford National Laboratory in the U.K., respectively. ORNL Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) has installed a neutron imaging (NI) beam line at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) cold guide hall. The CG-1D beam line produces cold neutrons for a broad range of user research spanning from engineering to material research, additive manufacturing, vehicle technologies, archaeology, biology, and plant physiology. Recent efforts have focused on increasing flux and spatial resolution. A series of selected engineering applications is presented here. ORNL is also building a pulsed neutron imaging beam line called VENUS to respond to the U.S. based scientific community. A team composed of engineers, scientists and designers has developed a conceptual design of the future VENUS imaging instrument at the SNS.

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