PSI simplifies quality control of composites

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have improved a method for small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to such an extent that the inside of composites can also be recorded with beams from conventional X-ray tubes. It is also quicker than the existing method.

Matias Kagias (left) and Marco Stampanoni in front of the apparatus with which they examined the composites using the newly developed X-ray method. Image Credit: Paul Scherrer Institute/Mahir Dzambegovic

The PSI explains in a press release that the small angle X-ray scattering is used to record the structure of composites. The properties of these materials depend to a large extent on how the fibers contained in them are aligned. Conventional X-ray methods have the disadvantage that it can take hours to examine a sample in the necessary resolution.

A group of researchers at the PSI and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a more practical method for angle X-ray scattering. “This makes it possible to detect multiple local scattering patterns that reflect the spatial inner structure of a sample with only one X-ray shot, enabling us to take a large number of consecutive images”, says Matias Kagias, the inventor of the method and a postdoctoral researcher in the PSI X-ray tomography group.

The method developed by Kagias and his research colleagues can also be used with conventional X-ray tubes. Previously, x-rays from accelerators such as the synchrotron Swiss Light Source (SLS) at the PSI were required to x-ray composites. “It is expected that this novel approach will find practical applications in medical devices and non-destructive testing as well as the area of homeland security”, explains Marco Stampanoni, head of the PSI X-ray tomography research group.

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