On August 18, our talk was given by Dr. Anton Tremsin, and was entitled "Can one see a flower through a granite wall? Amazing capabilities of neutron imaging".
The detection technology which we developed for NASA astrophysical missions at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory has been successfully extended to such diverse areas as synchrotron instrumentation, biomedical imaging, ground-based astronomy and neutron microtomography. In this talk I will briefly describe some instrumentation we built for NASA satellites, in particular for the last Hubble repair mission, and how the same technology enables novel non-destructive testing methods utilizing neutrons. These reveal processes happening inside and behind thick objects. The fact that neutrons interact with the nucleus, as opposed to electrons in the case of x-rays, leads to a very different contrast mechanism. As a result, most organic objects are quite opaque and many metals can be easily penetrated. That allows seeing a drop of oil or gasoline inside a real aluminum-block car engine, a flower behind a granite wall, water flow inside metal pipes, strain in materials, etc. The latter can be very helpful for the engineering studies of crack formation in metals, preventing the fatigue of structures used in bridges and buildings. Also, the interaction of neutron spin with magnetic fields allows high resolution measurements of magnetic fields inside and around thick objects. A number of proof-of-principle experiments performed at continuous and pulsed neutron sources will be discussed, as will possible applications.
Dr. Tremsin got his Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 1992 at the Russian Academy of Sciences, was then a British Royal Society Fellow at the University of Leicester, and joined the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley in 1996, where he is currently a Research Associate. He has undertaken research and development of new technologies in position sensitive photon, electron, ion and neutron counting detectors. The new non destructive testing techniques with neutrons developed by Dr. Tremsin enable novel high resolution studies of structure, phase and strain in materials with the help of neutron transmission spectroscopy as well as imaging of dynamic magnetic fields with polarized neutrons.
You can watch the video of his talk by clicking below.
Images courtesy A. Tremsin