Phoenix has received a contract from the US Army to demonstrate neutron-based methods of non-destructive testing using its high flux neutron generators.

The contract provides funding of approximately $4m to enable Phoenix to showcase a high-throughput, high-resolution thermal neutron imaging system and a fast neutron imaging system.

In addition, funding will support the company’s effort to fuse neutron radiographs with X-rays to present inspectors with ‘complementary’ information in the form of a hybrid image.

Phoenix president Evan Sengbusch said: “With N-ray and X-ray capabilities merged, the technology Phoenix is developing will be instrumental in the inspection of large, complex munitions for the military and vital to ensuring our warfighters continue to receive safe and effective munitions produced in the most efficient manner.”

The company will carry out the demonstration work at its Phoenix Neutron Imaging Center (PNIC), in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, US.

“Phoenix believes this model will help reduce non-destructive inspection cycle times and improve the accessibility of neutron radiography.”

Set to open later this year, the facility will provide neutron radiography services and serve as a testbed for neutron-based research experiments for customers.

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Furthermore, PNIC is designed to serve as a template for additional systems that can be sited at different locations across the US.

These systems will also be integrated with production and quality assurance operations.

Phoenix believes this model will help reduce non-destructive inspection cycle times and improve the accessibility of neutron radiography.

The army awarded a contract to the company in 2014 to design and build an accelerator-based neutron generator for use in non-destructive inspection of critical defence components such as munitions and pyrotechnics.

Phoenix won two additional contracts in 2016 to design and build a second-generation neutron generator for the army to enable the detection of defective munitions.

The contracts also included performing standoff buried IED detection using a mobile neutron generator prototype developed by Phoenix.