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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V035932/1
Title: Capital Equipment in Support of the National Research Facility for Lab X-ray CT
Principal Investigator: Burnett, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Boardman, Dr R P Warnett, Dr J Withers, Regius Professor P
Mavrogordato, Dr MN Endrizzi, Dr M Iacoviello, Dr F
Williams, Professor MA Sinclair, Professor I
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 02 November 2020 Ends: 01 May 2022 Value (£): 457,414
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design & Testing Technology Electrochemical Science & Eng.
Materials Characterisation Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Sep 2020 Core Equipment Award 2020 - Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The National Research Facility (NRF) for Lab X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) aims to provide the UK academic and industrial community with access to world class X-ray imaging facilities and the associated expertise enabling:

(1) Access to 3D/4D non-destructive X-ray imaging for users without a scanner of their own,

(2) Users to go beyond conventional absorption CT with phase contrast diffraction and colour CT,

(3) Users to explore the behaviour of materials under loading or extreme environments,

(4) Users to be able to get more information for the very large datasets that the NRF will provide through, enhanced computational hardware, software, support and training,

(5) Industrial users to gain a competitive advantage through inside information about components, devices and their manufacturing processes.

To achieve this the NRF brings together 4 centres of excellence (Spoke facilities at Manchester, Southampton, UCL and Warwick). The NRF officially starts on 1st November 2020 and will bring new equipment to complement the existing equipment available across the partner facilities. The items requested here will further support our mission of helping users and making the best use of staff time, and will be focused on extending the capabilities of the current facilities to better complement the incoming new equipment. They will also ensure our equipment is able to deliver the highest quality results and support the large number of users. Each of the 4 Spokes contributes to the multiscale and in situ themes of the NRF providing complementary facilities and expertise as well as leading a technical theme: Manchester will lead the theme of 'rich tomography' exploiting hyperspectral and diffraction based tomography as well as multiscale/multimodal imaging. Southampton will lead on large sample scanning and life sciences. UCL will lead on phase contrast imaging and electrochemical devices. Warwick will lead on fast imaging and X-ray CT metrology.

In summary:

The detector at Manchester will make our existing high-flux bay (HFB) available to users for in situ experiments.

The customisable mechanical loading stage at Southampton will extend the range and rapidity of deploying in situ actuation/testing, supporting the often bespoke nature of testing larger engineering samples/systems.

The radiation enclosure at UCL will make it possible to run two beam lines instead of one from the phase contrast system, maximising the utility of the NRF equipment. This will bring new additional capability and enhance the range of use cases we can target for phase contrast imaging helping more users.

The advanced reconstruction workstation at Warwick will increase reconstruction throughput by 4x and will enable handling of sparse/limited angle projections. This will significantly help with data throughput and the delivery of good quality reconstructions from high speed/noisy data.

Altogether we believe these cost-effective enhancements will build upon our existing complementary strengths and will bring significant benefit to our users now and into the future.

The independent X-ray Imaging Steering Committee (XISC) of the NRF with representation from (a) physical science users, (b) biomedical, (c) environmental & earth sciences, and (d) engineering will monitor delivery to users and be built upon a fair, transparent and rapid access model, which will be implemented and judged by the Facilities Board (FB) 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 (KPIs) will be continuously monitored to maintain the quality of the user experience and the research that is undertaken and make improvements where necessary.

Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk