Imaging with Neutrons

By exploiting the penetration, attenuation, and scattering properties of neutrons, images of matter in two or three dimensions reveal information unobtainable using other probes. Despite the limitation in brilliance of neutron sources, several neutron-based imaging techniques are essential to different aspects of modern geoscience. Typical examples include the evaluation of porosity in rocks and sediments, mapping of light elements in solids, noninvasive probing of cultural heritage objects, investigations of thick engineering components, and the exploration of diffusion and percolation processes of fluids within porous matrices, organo-inorganic composites, and living organisms. Techniques under development include simultaneous neutron and X-ray tomography in heterogeneous media, Bragg-edge imaging, and the possibility of porosimetry from dark-field imaging.

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The Contribution of Geoscience to Cultural Heritage Studies

This issue of Elements celebrates the diverse contributions that the Earth sciences have made to characterizing, interpreting, conserving, and valorizing cultural heritage. Archaeometry and conservation science are connected to the geosciences at different levels. Earth scientists possess a profound perception of the complexity of natural materials, they have the necessary knowledge of the ancient and recent geological and physico-chemical processes acting on natural materials and on the artifacts produced by human activities, and they master most of the techniques useful to investigate our common heritage. Therefore, Earth scientists can greatly contribute towards a better understanding and preservation of our past.

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