Comparison of thermal neutron and hard X-ray dark-field tomography

Alex Gustschin, Tobias Neuwirth, Alexander Backs, Manuel Viermetz, Nikolai Gustschin, Michael Schulz, Franz Pfeiffer

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1 Scopus citations


High visibility (0.56) neutron-based multi-modal imaging with a Talbot–Lau interferometer at a wavelength of 1.6 Å is reported. A tomography scan of a strongly absorbing quartz geode sample was performed with both the neutron and an X-ray grating interferometer (70 kVp) for a quantitative comparison. Small scattering structures embedded in the absorbing silica matrix were well resolved in neutron dark-field CT slices with a spatial resolution of about 300 µm. Beneficial effects, such as monochromaticity and stronger penetration power of the used neutron radiation, helped to avoid the beam hardening-related artificial dark-field signal which was present in the X-ray data. Both dark-field modalities show mostly the same structures; however, some scattering features appear only in the neutron domain. Potential applications of combined X-ray and neutron multi-modal CT enabling one to probe both the nuclear and the electron density-related structural properties are discussed. strongly absorbing samples are now accessible for the dark-field modality by the use of thermal neutrons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalJournal of Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Hard X-ray dark-field imaging
  • Neutron dark-field imaging
  • Neutron grating interferometry
  • Neutron imaging
  • X-ray grating interferometry


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