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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T02593X/1
Title: National Research Facility for Lab X-ray CT
Principal Investigator: Burnett, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Williams, Professor MA Quinn, Dr P Blumensath, Professor T
Sinclair, Professor I Cernik, Professor R Schneider, Professor P
Warnett, Dr J Shearing, Professor P Munro, Dr P R T
Olivo, Professor A Mavrogordato, Dr MN Lee, Professor P
Cox, Professor SJ Brett, Professor D Endrizzi, Dr M
Iacoviello, Dr F Hagen, Dr CK
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Nordson (UK) Ltd
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2020 Ends: 31 October 2025 Value (£): 10,097,652
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Jan 2020 X-Ray Tomography NRF- Interview Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The proposed National Research Facility (NRF) for Laboratory X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) will provide access to state-of-the-art facilities for multiscale and in situ X-ray imaging. It will be based around a hub (Manchester) and spoke (Southampton, Warwick and UCL) model that brings together the complementary strengths of 4 leading X-ray CT facilities in the UK and provides a common access route, which is both professional and user-oriented. We will also be working closely with Diamond Light Source, the UK's synchrotron facility. By offering access both to new and existing imaging systems the NRF represents good value for money. By hosting the hub of the NRF within the Henry Royce Institute we will tap into their academic and business engagement team to ensure the widest possible engagement.

The proposed NRF will build X-ray imaging capacity and capability in key areas, giving improved access to X-ray imaging beamtime to both academic and industrial users across the UK. The NRF will also establish a number of unique and world-leading capabilities, namely in lab-based X-ray phase contrast imaging (XCPI) for low attenuation materials and colour (hyperspectral) imaging for non-destructive 3D elemental mapping.

The NRF will provide researchers with access to XCT expertise, equipment and software to tackle research questions from academia and industry including, but not limited to, the physical sciences. It will enable academic and industrial users to:

- obtain multiscale 3D information non-destructively across scales from 2 m samples down to 50 nm resolution

- follow the evolution of internal structure in 3D over time (time-lapse CT or 4D imaging).

- follow the behaviour of materials in situ under a range of manufacturing and demanding environments provided by specialised rigs to obtain 3D datasets as an input to models (image-based modelling) or to validate time dependent models (time lapse studies).

- acquire multifaceted information from a range of different instruments for the same region of interest (correlative tomography)

- provide the computing, software, data storage and training resources needed to exploit the insights offered by the extremely large datasets

- work with national large-scale facilities to provide a joined-up framework for X-ray imaging science

Together with the large-scale facilities the NRF will act as a focal point for X-ray imaging in the UK driving leading-edge technique development and applications. The combined user-base experience and established training resources of the hub and spokes will be used to develop a coordinated and comprehensive national capability to impart the skills needed to the academic and industrial user communities.

An independent X-ray Imaging Steering Committee (XISC) with representation from (a) physical science users, (b) biomedical, (c) environmental & earth sciences, and (d) engineering will be created to monitor the NRFs focus and delivery to users. A fair, transparent and rapid access model will be implemented and judged by the Facilities Board comprising the Directors of the Facility, the Principal Instrument Scientist and the Co-Directors from the spokes, a representative Diamond Light Source (thereby ensuring that the Facilities work together for the benefit of the UK), NPL and EPSRC as well as 3 users. User feedback and key performance indicators will be continuously monitored to maintain the quality of the user experience and the research that is undertaken and make improvements where necessary. At a more strategic level, taking advice from the XISC the Facilities Board will allocate the recurrent resources to ensure maximum user benefit.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk