X-ray and neutron imaging group – University of Copenhagen

X-Ray and Neutron Science > Research > X-ray and neutron imag...

X-ray and neutron imaging group

The x-ray and neutron imaging group performs 2D and 3D imaging and image analysis. The group has a laboratory setup for x-ray imaging but also travels abroad to synchrotrons and neutron source facilities for performing experiments. Collaborations with companies and interdisciplinary research partners are a major part of the group's work.

In general, X-ray and neutron imaging techniques map the spatial distribution of physical properties within a given sample. This allows the investigation of an object in a non-destructive manner which is a major advantage over traditional light microscopy studies where the sample has to be cut into pieces in order to study the inside.

The physical property that is most commonly mapped is the absorption coefficient. This is what medical CT-scanners do. Equivalent to medical CT-scanners, which use x-rays, neutrons can be used for constructing absorption tomograms. The development within absorption imaging goes towards increasingly smaller pixel sizes, allowing us to image increasingly smaller features.

Another physical property that can be mapped is the refractive index. This is a bit more tedious than mapping the absorption coefficient, and a number of different techniques can be used. Within our group, we specialize in the grating interferometer technique.

Besides the absorption coefficient and the refractive index, the grating interferometer allows us to map a third property: The incoherent scattering, often refered to as the dark field signal. Unlike the absorption coefficient and the refractive index the incoherent scattering is dependent on the propagation direction of the x-rays or the neutrons. This complicates image reconstruction, but also offers us the opportunity of mapping orientations of e.g. Fibers or cracks within a sample

X-ray dark field tomogram of a LEGO car.

In recent years, x-ray and neutron imaging has caught the attention of many researchers outside of physics as well as many private companies such as pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, manufactoring companies and private consulting companies. The x-ray and neutron imaging group has in recent years had collaborations with external partners such as Novo Nordisk, Topsøe Fuel Cells, Rigshospitalet, Foss, and Technological Institute.

The group is one of the contributors to NEXIM, which is a cooperation between various companies and research groups, with the aim of improving the detectability of foreign bodies in food. NEXIM is founded by The Danish Council for Strategic Research


  • Construction of a conveyer belt x-ray grating interferometer: A project within NEXIM
  • Orientational dark field image reconstruction
  • Evaluation of dental implant integration in the surrounding bone, by high resolution x-ray tomography.
  • Measurements of subcutaneous insulin injections.
  • Investigation of functionality and quality of food products.

And much more...

Further contact: Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, robert@nbi.dk