The neutron source

The key elements in a neutron tomograph are the source of neutrons and the detector, as well as the surounding environment
  • The ILL is the world's most powerful neutron source with its 1.5E15 thermal neutrons neutrons per second per cm2 (n/s/cm2)
  • Neutron Flux at the instrument: 9*10E7 n/s/cm2 (for a collimation L/D = 500)
  • Collimation: L = 10m, Range of pinholes from 30 mm to 1.5 mm . For more information about the meaning collimation visit this.
  • Mean neutron energy: 12.3 meV, 3 Å (cold neutrons)


A complete description of the instrument can be found at

D50 is a neutron instrument which was initiated in 2014, and financed by the French program IRT Nanoelec of which ILL is a member, specifically within its characterisation platform (PAC-G). Initially, this beamline was dedicated to an innovative approach to reflectometry (Rainbows) capable of taking measurements ten times faster than traditional instruments, and particularly well-suited to the unique needs of microelectronics R&D for which it was conceived.
As of 2016 the Universite Grenoble Alpes acquired a part of the "beamtime budget" of D50 and built and operated a separate Neutron and X-ray Tomograph taking advantage of the unique flux of ILL as well as of the high complementarity of these two techniques. This part of the instrument is operated as a public instrument and is free open and for scientific proposals from anywhere around the world.
The Rainbows Reflectometer and the Neutrons and X-ray Tomograph are currently run in alternation since they both require the full spectrum and size of the beam.

The medium resolution detector

A first medium resolution neutron tomograph was developed in 2016, aimed at maximum flexibility for a broad range of applications. Several upgrades are being developed in 2017.
  • Up to 170 mm field of view
  • Down to 30 micron real resolution
  • Up to 100 Hz (10 second Tomographies and below)
  • 2000 x 2000 pixels

The high resolution detectors

  • down to 7 micrometer real resolution
  • Fields of view from below 25mm

X-ray setup

  • 5 micrometer real resolution
  • Fields of view from 8x10 mm to 250x300 mm
  • Source: 75 W, 150 kV

The testing environment

The Tomographs are supported by a granite table, for maximal thermal and vibrational stability, crucial in long and high-resolution acquisitions.
  • The x-ray setup is mounted on a rotating apparatus to minimise the cross-talk with the neutron instrument.
  • In the spirit of the instrument, thought for material science application the rotation stage (a Newport RV350PP) is hollow and ample space is left above and below it to accomodate large testing equipments
  • The structure is designed to support equipments up to several hundreds of kilograms.

The working space

The tomographs are contained within a sructured aimed at providing radiological protection from the ionising radiation to the users, named casemate.
  • The casemate is ample (~20 m2), to accomodate all kinds of testing equipment
  • Within the casemate can be found compressed air, inlet and outlet water, and exhaust gas recuperation systems

Additional facilities

NeXT was thought for engineering and material science applications and as such offers an ever increasing range of equipment for hydro-chemo-mechanical testing
  • Workshop with a range of classic tools
  • Machining equipment (for non-active materials)
  • Miscellaneous laboratory equipment (scales, oven..)
  • Hydraulic equipment (e.g. a servocontrolled syringe pump going to 90MPa)
  • Several bespoke equipments have been developed by the users, some of which can be borrowed from them. For more information please contact us at