Applied Radiation


Imaging uses neutron and X-ray radiation as non-destructive probes to investigate objects and materials for pure and applied research. The output from the instruments is in the form of radiographs (2D images), image slices and tomograms (3D) which are analysed on high performance computer workstations to extract information relevant to a given application. The direct and indirect (through users) research output is mostly in the form of research reports, publications, Honours, MSc and PhD theses. The group renders support in terms of training, experimental planning and performing investigations for researchers and students using the equipment, as well as technique development to enlarge the application scope within the National System of Innovation. Contract research and non-destructive analytical services are offered to industrial clients on a commercial basis.

Capabilities and Instrumentation

Necsa is upgrading the neutron imaging instrumentation and therefore this capability is not currently available. Assistance can however be provided to formulate project proposals in accessing international facilities.

A commercial NIKON XTH 225 ST micro-focus X-Ray imaging device is operational and open for project proposals.

Detailed descriptions of the instruments together with example applications are available at the following links:

  • NRAD: Neutron Imaging 
  • MIXRAD: Micro-focus X-ray Radiography and Tomography 

European Commission Programs:

  • Bakeng se Afrika: Is a project that aims to create a comprehensive digital imaging database in which a South African scanned skeletal repository is curated. The server for the database of non-living individuals is stored at Necsa, and for living individuals in the respective hospital archival systems. The applicable data is  uploaded online for dissemination not only to partner Universities, but also other national and international research groups following adequate Bakeng ethical approval. 
  • Technique development: Upgrading of the Neutron radiography facility: In order to provide local and international researchers with modern capabilities, Necsa embarked on the upgrade of the neutron beam line instruments at the SAFARI-1 nuclear research reactor, which includes the installation of a modernised neutron radiography/tomography facility. Users will be informed when this capability is available.

Human Capital Development (HCD)

Researchers and post graduate level students are invited to apply,  for beam time (access to the instruments) through a proposal application system, similar to international  protocols. This is done through a USER OFFICE to streamline the proposal applications, the allocation of beam time, as well as the monitoring and feedback of potential and completed outputs, e.g. dissertations, thesis’s, peer reviewed articles and conference reports by users. 

Request for beam time can be made to any Imaging instrument scientist , as well as through submission to the RADTOM USER OFFICE: or the General User Office:


Hosted 9th World Conference on Neutron Radiography (WCNR-9) at Kwa Maritane in Pilanesberg National Park. This conference series is scheduled by the International Society for Neutron Radiology (ISNR) to take place every 4 years since 1981.  

Necsa (together with Stellenbosch University and the University of the Witwatersrand) founded the Imaging with Radiation conferences and hosted the event twice (2013 and 2021). The aim of this conference series is to allow the user bases of the three facilities (Necsa, SUN and Wits) opportunities to present research results from radiation-based imaging techniques.


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Melbourne, Australia
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