Neutron Imaging, Explained

What Is Neutron Imaging (Radiography)?

Neutron radiography is a nondestructive imaging method that reveals the internal structure of a sample by subjecting it to a neutron beam. Also known as “neutron imaging” or “neutron tomography”, neutron radiography can help manufacturers in a variety of industries design better, more efficient, and safer products. Through our high-intensity neutron source, we offer an invaluable resource for quality assurance and failure analysis. And, since we don’t rely on a nuclear reactor, we’re able to offer reliable, easy access to this powerful testing method.

Neutron Radiography at a Glance

Neutron radiography is a powerful, but underused, nondestructive inspection method.

Unlike X-ray radiography, neutron radiation can easily penetrate dense materials.

Neutron radiography has application in a wide range of industries, but especially in aerospace and defense.

The use of neutron radiography has been hindered by reliance on nuclear reactor facilities, which are difficult to access due to logistical issues.

An N-Ray image of the fuel injector structures.An X-Ray image of the fuel injector structures.

Click and drag the vertical line to compare X-ray and neutron imaging of fuel injectors. Neutron imaging reveals details that X-ray does not, such as blockages within the injectors.

How is Neutron Imaging Used?

There are many applications in the nondestructive testing industry that neutron radiography is well suited for. Since neutrons can penetrate high-density material in a way that X-rays cannot, neutrons are widely used for critical aerospace components with thick outer shells, such as turbine blades and energetic fuses, which are difficult to inspect using X-ray radiography. N-rays can also be used to detect water and moisture within components, as well as archaeological specimens encapsulated in material that X-ray radiography cannot penetrate.

Why is Neutron Imaging with Phoenix Different?

Most nondestructive testing and inspection professionals rely on nuclear fission reactors instead of neutron beams to conduct neutron imaging. However, only a few nuclear reactors (built for scientific research, not power generation) are available for use, and come with high logistical costs due to demand, safety regulations, regular outages, and more.

Our state-of-the-art radiographic imaging center is the first facility of its kind to offer commercial neutron imaging services without the use of a reactor. We leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver the same high-resolution image quality as aging reactor-based facilities, but with fewer — if any — outages and heavy security, safety, and logistics overhead. We’re reliable, flexible, and agile . . . and, as a result, our clients are, too.

Partner with us for fast, reliable neutron imaging