The 11th World Conference on Neutron Radiography (September 2nd – 7th 2018)
ANSTO, the Australian organization for nuclear science and technology hosted that meeting of the experts in modern neutron imaging this year in “early spring” with temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. Although the destination was quite far from most places of the world, more than 120 participants made the trip to “down under”.
The request for oral presentations was so high, that for the first time parallel sessions were held on one day of the meeting. Almost all contributions were given in high technical and content quality. The best evidence was the high participation in all sessions, including the two poster session in later afternoon.
It was a clever decision made by the main organizer Ulf Garbe to use the lecture hall of the “Australian National Maritime Museum” for the conference, situated just in the bay of the Darling Harbor. Located in the middle of the vivid city of Sydney but accessible from all hotels on foot, a good technical infrastructure was provided.
With the neutron imaging facility DINGO at the research reactor OPAL, ANSTO is enabled to provide a competitive user program in neutron imaging for the region. Several highlights of recent studies at DINGO were presented during the meeting.
The conference has demonstrated clearly that neutron imaging is nowadays a well-established and promising technology with high potential for applications in different branches of science and in industry. Although the number of prominent strong neutron sources is declining (shutdown of BER-2 (HZB, Germany), Orphee (Saclay, France), several new installations for neutron imaging are on the way to be realized (ILL (France), Kjeller (Norway), Buenos Aires (Argentina), …) or recovered after shutdown phases (HANARO (South Korea), SAFARI (South Africa)) - and upgrades are on the way (INL (USA), CARR (China), HOR (Netherlands)).
Surprisingly, quite high interest came up for the imaging with fast neutrons. Obviously, the high penetration power of these neutrons make the technique quite interesting for inspections of very bulky objects. A key question is for better scintillator screens with more efficient light conversion and higher spatial resolution. For this purpose a “topical team” was formed to support further development.
Several techniques, started some years ago in a pioneering manner (tomography, grating interferometry, high speed imaging, imaging with resolution around 10 micro-meters, imaging with polarized neutrons) are now routinely established in a few labs and part of their user program.
The problem of data handling and analysis is valid on an increasingly high level since the acquisition rates are on the GByte to TByte range nowadays. In order to support the users in a most efficient manner, infra-structure and analytical tools have to be established more.
One highlight of the conference was a ship cruise in the harbor bay for the celebration of the conference dinner with beautiful views onto the famous Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House at night. This was also the opportunity to hand over the certificates of the “ISNR Honorary Membership” to Jack Brenizer (USA), Yoshiaki Kiyanagi (Japan) and Eberhard Lehmann (Switzerland).
The decision for hosting the 12th World Conference on Neutron Radiography” was not easy. According to the rules of the ISNR, the participants have voted in a democratic manner before the current conference ends. Three candidate countries presented their offer: India, Japan and USA. The competition won Idaho National Laboratory (USA) and Aaron Craft was elected as the new ISNR president. We hope for another intense and successful meeting in 2022 in the American mountains.
Ulf Garbe (ANSTO), Eberhard Lehmann (PSI)