ODIN - Optical and Diffraction Imaging with Neutrons

ODIN will be a world-leading instrument in the rapidly developing field of neutron imaging, offering un-paralleled versatility and capabilities to enable new science and address wide ranging problems in industry, environment, commerce, and art that cannot be effectively answered today. One of the first instrument concepts to be advanced into Phase 1, ODIN is currently undergoing preliminary engineering design.


M. Strobl, ESS, Sweden, and University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
L. Udby, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
H. Carlsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Scientific Partners

M. Schulz, Philipp Schmakat, B. Schillinger (TUM, DE)

E. Lehmann, M. Morgano, B. Betz, C. Gruenzweig (PSI, CH)

J. Plomp (TUD, NL)

L. Udby, H. Carlsen (KU, DK)


(The full proposal and all reviews can be found here.)

The ESS has the unique opportunity to take the technical and scientific leadership in the
rapidly developing field of neutron imaging by constructing the world’s most advanced
neutron imaging instrument with un-paralleled versatility and capabilities to enable new
science and address wide ranging problems in industry, environment, commerce, and art
that cannot be effectively answered today. In most instances, the proposed instrument
named ‘ODIN - Optical and Diffraction Imaging with Neutrons’ will add orders of magnitude
of enhancement in performance when compared to the world’s existing leading instruments
with regards to spatial resolution and energy-discrimination. ODIN is one of the best choices
for a day one instrument because it is ideally suited to the ESS source parameters and is one
of the lowest risk to build with immediate significant scientific return. The instrument also
exemplifies and strengthens the vision of ESS as the premier facility for the future of neutron
science with the potential of providing outstanding technical capability and experimental
results of significance from the very beginning. ODIN is based on a strategy that allows the
instrument to perform from the first day delivering significant results to all of the
stakeholders. ODIN is also expected to be realized at a lower cost than the estimated
average for planned instruments at the ESS, and the provided concept and specifications
allow participation of many potential partners providing maximum flexibility in the design and
construction of the instrument. The instrument concept for ODIN described in this proposal
is mature in technical details, planning, and scientific vision, and the instrument is now ready
to be built.

ODIN is a unique and first of its kind type of instrument that combines imaging with
reciprocal space techniques. Such an instrument design with the desired performance level is
possible only because of ESS source strength and characteristics. Despite the novelty of the
concept comprising a bi-spectral extraction, a long partly elliptical guide, a complex
wavelength-frame-multiplication chopper system, and a flexible end station with various
detector solutions, the design is technically complete with remarkably low associated risks.
To minimize risks, the designed instrument components are state-of-the-art that will employ
proven methods for fabrication and testing. In the case of technical difficulties, alternative
solutions are available that can be implemented easily without significant impact on the
performance. The flexible end station design allows for keeping up with the newest
developments for add-ons, techniques, optics and detectors, and even an up-grade option
for future development concerning novel chopper approach (SPEED/Fourier) has been
incorporated in the design. To address potential future scientific requirements, the design
layout also allows addition of complementary diffraction capabilities.

ODIN will be able to deliver data from day one operation. It will outperform all existing
facilities and allow for new methods with outstanding applications. ODIN allows combining
direct imaging with un-polarized and polarized neutrons with reciprocal space techniques like
diffraction and small angle scattering, and hence provides unprecedented capabilities for
doing research in many areas of science and industry. In particular, the uniquely designed
combination of a direct spatial resolution of micrometers and a reciprocal space resolution
range in the micrometer to the nanometer regime provides a very powerful tool that is not
available today. These length scales allow hydrogen detection and transport characterization
with unprecedented precision, study of externally triggered transitions in soft matter and
biology, development of materials for medical applications, and observation of structural
changes in engineering materials during processes like in-situ observations of laser or steer
welding. In addition, the application of polarized neutrons allows precision characterization of
magnetic structures and processes critical for designing robust and high density data storage
and magnetic levitation materials, study of phase transition in superconducting materials and
devices, and industrial engineering of materials such as transformer steels with large
magnetic domain structures. Finally yet importantly, all these capabilities also allow much
enhanced non-destructive investigations of irreplaceable artifacts of art and cultural heritage
thus providing a much needed capability to museums and conservation scientists to preserve
and understand our shared human and planet history.

ODIN will meet future demands of a large and demanding user community in industrial
research, applied sciences, and basic research for many years to come. It is likely to attract
users from all over the world. It belongs to an instrument class that is already oversubscribed
word wide. In view of the novel capabilities that ODIN will add to the current
state-of-the-art, the likely over-subscription will be partially offset by faster measurement
time, higher quality data, enhanced data reduction and analysis, and better infrastructural
support for the user community. However, it is conceivable that at a later stage a second
simpler complementary instrument may be needed for routine and long running conventional