Engineering Materials, Geosciences and Cultural Heritage

Due to their large penetration lengths in many materials, and in particular in metals, neutrons are an invaluable tool for investigating engineering materials and components, geological structures and their dynamics, and historical objects whose detailed study reveals to us the basic data of our own cultural heritage. Neutrons also enable the non-destructive investigation of most samples, making them the ideal probe to detect hydrogeneous materials and to provide information about crystalline structures.

Current Science

Engineering and Applied Materials


Structural integrity of energy conversion materials

One of the greatest market entry barriers of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) is their durability...

Understanding historic engineering

Historical metallurgy is one of the most interesting fields of archaeometry, especially with...

Improving dental cements

Dental caries (cavities) are a major global health problem. Glass ionomer cements (GIC) offer a clever alternative for...


Cultural Heritage


Imaging deformation and fluid flow in geo-materials

Understanding the controls on the permeability of porous rocks, such as sandstone, is important...

Understanding historic engineering

Information concerning morphological features and spatial mapping of the...

Inside cereal grains planted under ESS 6000 years ago

The archeological excavation at the ESS construction site in northeastern Lund during...

Methods Development


Towards mapping the grains of engineering materials

The aim of the project is to enable the reconstruction of the assembly of crystalline...

Towards mapping magnetic domains

Today’s global electricity market sizes to approximately 5 trillion watts. Large power...

Tackling hierarchical structures in applied materials - towards imaging with SAS resolution

Spatial modulation of neutron beams allows achieving...


People and Partners 

The ESS Science Focus Team members for Engineering Materials, Geosciences and Cultural Heritage.

ESS partner labs and their research in this science focus area.


Related Instruments



The Beamline for European Engineering Materials Research

BEER enables researchers to create and optimise complex materials in ways not done before. The diffractometer aims to greatly advance scientific understanding of engineering components by providing a finer mapping of their microstructural organisation, and by exposing the fast kinetic changes that occur during industrial processing. 


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.



Publications involving members of the ESS Engineering Materials, Geosciences and Cultural Heritage Science Focus Team.



ESS Science Drivers


Engineering Materials and Geosciences 

Neutron scattering has established itself as a unique and important probe for the structure and dynamics of materials due to the neutron's penetration power and its sensitivity to the presence of light elements, in particular hydrogen.

Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 

For Cultural Heritage, the penetration deep into complex specimens, to address their composition and structure non-destructively, is not only an invaluable aspect of the investigation of artefacts but also improves our understanding of historical artistic/cultural techniques, ancient manufacturing methods, and, when paleontological samples are addressed, even the evolution of life.

Read more about ESS instruments and their construction.