LPAC acquires the EVITA X-ray phase contrast imaging system
Run with the help of ENAC’s PIXE, EVITA allows non-destructive testing of low-density samples such as composites, plants, biological material, and many others
While multiple non-destructive testing methods such as acoustic emission or infrared analysis are available for composite structures, conventional X-ray absorption imaging is generally unable to detect microscopic details such as defects in fibrous media, or cracks in laminates, due to a lack in contrast.
In the recent years, the development of phase-contrast imaging, based on Talbot-Lau grating interferometry, has allowed to overcome some of the limitations of standard X-ray absorption . The resulting refraction (or differential phase) images can yield a good distinction between regions in a sample with relatively similar densities but different refractive properties. The same system was also shown to be adequate for the analysis of ultra-small angle scattering . These scattering (or dark-field) images are sensitive to the presence of microscopic heterogeneities within the sample, and can bring out small details with sizes below the detector resolution.
Developed by CSEM in Alpnach, EVITA has successfully allowed to apply these principles for the testing of composite parts. Recently installed in LPAC, EVITA is now up and running at EPFL, and has already started delivering its imaging capabilities for the analysis of composites. Large samples can be analyzed in 2D (up to 1 square meter), and computed tomography allows the 3D reconstruction of absorption, scattering and refraction images.
New applications have also been tested, like the in-situ imaging of flow fronts in partially saturated fibrous media . Further use cases are now considered and expected, such as imaging dynamic effects in plants or other biological material.
Beyond these examples, other potential applications are welcome for exploration, thanks to the support of EPFL Platform Technical Advancement Seed Fund, with LPAC and PIXE which would connect researchers from different fields, and help stimulating transdisciplinary studies. Please reach out to Prof. Michaud (LPAC) or Dr Turberg (PIXE) to discuss the feasibility of a prospective study.
 Pfeiffer, F., Weitkamp, T., Bunk, O., David, C., 2006. Phase retrieval and differential phase-contrast imaging with low-brilliance X-ray sources. Nature Phys 2, 258–261. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys265
 Pfeiffer, F., Bech, M., Bunk, O., Kraft, P., Eikenberry, E.F., Brönnimann, C., Grünzweig, C., David, C., 2008. Hard-X-ray dark-field imaging using a grating interferometer. Nature Mater 7, 134–137. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat2096
 Teixidó, H., Caglar, B., Revol, V., Michaud, V., 2021. In-operando dynamic visualization of flow through porous preforms based on X-ray phase contrast imaging. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 149, 106560. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesa.2021.106560