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Imaging Beamline (BL-4)

  1. Introduction
  2. Beamline characteristics
  3. Beamline optics
  4. Experimental station
  5. Beamline characteristics
  6. Experimental techniques
  7. Computational facilities
  8. Applications and results
  9. Contacts
  10. Publications
  11. Conference Presentations
1. Introduction

X-ray imaging has undergone revolutionary improvements with the introduction of synchrotron sources and advance detector technologies, opening new possibilities for research in material and bio-medical application. The synchrotron source characteristics - high brilliance, high coherence, and possibility of monochromatization has opened new horizons in imaging science such as phase contrast imaging, diffraction contrast imaging, real-time imaging of transient phenomena, and in-situ 3D imaging. High spatial and energy resolution not only enable new modalities of imaging, but also the conventional techniques such as tomography to be carried out on sub-micrometer resolution scale. X-ray phase contrast imaging has opened the possibility to distinguish features with very small density difference. Therefore this technique is very useful in bio-medical research such as mammography, angiography, cancer research, food technology, evolutionary research and imaging of bio-materials such as bones, tooth, and soft tissues. Synchrotron based micro-imaging has also shown promising results in the studies of advanced materials such as polymers, composites, ceramics, glasses, fuel cell etc. They have been used extensively in agriculture, environmental, geological studies etc. The possibility to use high intensity monochromatic beam also allows element specific imaging using multi-energy imaging, K edge subtraction imaging.

We have developed and installed an advanced imaging facility to carry out absorption and phase sensitive imaging and micro-tomography for material and medical science application. The beam-line has both monochromatic as well as white beam mode of operation. In monochromatic mode, the energy range covered is 8-35 keV while in white beam mode energy up-to 50kev is available. The maximum beam-dimension in the experimental station is 100 mm X 10 mm and photon flux is ~1010ph/s in monochromatic mode while it is 1016 ph/s in white-beam mode. Several detectors such as CCD, flat panel and most important an X-ray microscope with sub-micron resolution along with precision six axis sample manipulators have been installed. Techniques such as radiography, propagation and analyzer based phase imaging, 3D tomography in absorption and phase contrast mode; real-time imaging etc. have already been implemented. This facility will be used for advanced applications in bio-medical science research and non-destructive characterization of advanced materials and several new challenging applications.

2. Beamline characteristics


Typical values


Bending magnet, 1.5 T dipole

Operational modes

White and monochromatic


Si(111) Double crystal monochromator (DCM)

Energy range

8-35 keV

Energy resolution

(3.86 * 10-3 @ 12keV) in monochromatic mode)

Beamline acceptance

5.5 mrad (H) X 0.5 mrad (V)

Photon flux

~ 1.74 x 108 photons/s/mm2/120mA at 12keV monochromatic energy
~1016ph/s (white beam)@ 2.5 GeV and 300 mA

Sample stage

Five axis ( 2D translation + rotation +2D tilt)


CCD detector, Flat panel detector, X-ray microscope, Imaging Plate, Photo diode etc.

Detectors stage

3 axis manipulator for detectors (X-Y-Z)

3. Beamline optics

Optics hutch comprises of components for beam shape and size selection, monochromatization, beam filtering, exposure and dose minimization etc. Water cooled Be-window assembly, vertical and horizontal entrance slits with baffles, Double Crystal Monochromator (DCM), vertical and horizontal exit slits, beam shutter and beam position monitor, water cooled exit Be- window assembly for mono and white beam.

Optical layout of the imaging beamline
Figure 1 Optical layout of the imaging beamline

Schematic of optical and experimental hutch of imaging beamline
Figure 2 Schematic of optical and experimental hutch of imaging beamline

4. Experimental station

  1. Detectors
    Following detectors are available as per the experimental requirements

    1. X-ray imaging microscope -

      • A unique facility to enable sub-micrometer resolution imaging (best achievable resolution is 700nm)
      • A lens coupled CCD detector with mirror optics and variety of combinations of scintillators and objectives for choosing required resolution(700 nm to 8 micron), field of view (1.5 mm to 16 mm)

    2. High resolution X-ray CCD detector
      Fiber-Optique coupled, gad-ox scintillator with 4007 X 2678, (18mm x 12mm), pixel size 4.5 micron.

    3. X-ray Flat panel detector
      120mm field of view, 50 micron pixel size, 2400 x 2400 pixels

    4. Image plate detectors
      High sensitivity imaging for large sample (Readout resolution up-to 10 micron)

    5. Si-Li detector
      For carrying out elemental contrast imaging, multi-energy experiments

    Photograph of the experimental station of imaging beamline
    Figure 3 Photograph of the experimental station of imaging beamline

  2. Motion stages–
    1. High precision six axis sample manipulator stages consisting of (Y, Z, θ, ψ, φ)
    2. High precision three axis manipulator for detectors consisting X,Y, Z motions

  3. Ion chamber for online beam current measurement and dose regulation

  4. Fast shutter for controlled exposure time in bio-medical imaging.

  5. Analyzer DCM with special mount to perform phase contrast imaging, diffraction enhanced imaging / ultra-small angle scattering experiments.

  6. 3KN load cell assembly for In-situ experiments under load conditions in white beam mode only.

  7. Complete experimental station on vibration isolated granite tables.

5. Beamline characteristics

Beamline characteristic have been measured to provide necessary insight for the planning of various user experiments. Beam properties such as flux density, beam divergence and size at experimental station and their variation with energy, monochromaticity, achievable resolution with different cameras etc.

Beam size (FWHM), Flux variation with energy Beam size (FWHM), Flux variation with energy
Beam size (FWHM), Flux variation with energy

Spatial resolution measured using CCD detector and X-ray microscope
Spatial resolution measured using CCD detector and X-ray microscope
Spatial resolution measured using CCD detector and X-ray microscope

6. Experimental techniques

The imaging beamline is designed to implement a wide range of advanced X-ray micro-imaging techniques

Sr. No.

Hard X-ray imaging techniques

Brief Description

Monochromatic Mode

White beam mode


Full field absorption contrast imaging

Large field of view, high resolution, projected image of sample absorption co-efficient


In line phase contrast imaging

Phase contrast enhanced projection imaging, requires no X-ray optics, easy to implement.


Diffraction enhanced imaging

Analyser crystal enhances phase contrast, provides absorption, refraction and scattering contrast image, Good for bio-medical research.



X-ray Micro-tomography(absorption and phase contrast)

3 Dimensional distribution of X-ray absorption coefficient in absorption mode and refractive index/electron density in phase mode. Showing enclosed features, micro-structure, and imperfections of sample non-destructively.



3 D imaging of laminar samples


Dual energy imaging

Projection imaging and 3D imaging of elemental distribution



Real-time imaging

Imaging of transient phenomena in real-time showing variation of material density distribution with time


Speckle based phase contrast imaging (to be installed soon)

Quantitative Phase contrast imaging



Grating based phase contrast imaging (to be installed soon)

Quantitative phase contrast imaging with grating optics



Combined absorption and fluorescence imaging (to be installed soon)

Absorption contrast imaging with elemental distribution


7. Computational facilities

Computational facilities and various image processing and image analysis tools are also available for pre-processing and post-processing of imaging data. Quantitative analysis for finding out structural features and density distribution in 2D and 3D is possible. Assistance for accessing computational facilities and image analysis is also available on request.

8. Applications and results

8.1 Material Applications

  • Phase contrast imaging and Micro-tomography enables 3D Visualization of micro-structure such as voids, cracks, imperfections, material phases etc.

  • Structural features such as porosity, shape, size distribution of various phases, and geometrical parameters etc. can be quantified.

  • Mechanical and transport properties of material depends on its microstructure.

  • Structure properties correlations and modeling for optimization of material physical properties.

  • Study of effect of various sample environments on structural properties.

8.2 Biomedical Applications

  • Diagnostic Imaging: Pre-clinical study and potential for clinical imaging - Mammography, Angiography, functional lung imaging etc.

  • Evolutionary research in species – comparison of organs at various stage of development.

  • Effects of environment, drug treatment and mutation over animals and plants.

  • Study of bio-materials and novel contrast agents.

  • Image guided radiation therapy.

8.3 Geology Applications

  • Rocks are used as construction material, resources of minerals, petrochemical reservoirs etc.

  • Micro-tomography study provides micro-structure which helps in quantification of its reservoir and transport properties.

  • Micro-tomography also quantifies mineral phase distribution.

  • Micro-structure of rocks is used to provide information about their origin and evolution of the rocks in the region.

09. Contacts

For more information regarding experimental techniques and facilities, beamline access, beam time availability and discussion on feasibility of experiments please contact:



Phone no.

Dr. Yogesh Kashyap (SO/F)



Mr. Ashish K. Agrawal (SO/E)


0731-244-2504/2599; +919713323665

Mr. Balwant Singh (SO/C)


0731-244-2504/2599; +918989832771

10. Publications

  1. Micro-structural analysis and 3D spatial distribution of ore mineral phases using high resolution Synchrotron µCT and optical microscopy;
    A. Fatima A. S. Venkatesh, R. Mukherjee, A. K. Agrawal, B. Singh, P. S. Sarkar, T. Shripathi, Y. Kashyap;
    Submitted to Ore geology reviews.

  2. Phase sensitive imaging of leaves grown from magneto primed seed of soybean.
    A. Fatima, S.Kataria, L.Baghel, K.N. Guruprasad, A. K. Agrawal, B.Singh, P. S. Sarkar, T. Shripathi, Y. Kashyap,
    submitted to Journal of Synchrotron Radiation.

  3. Monochromatic X-ray induced novel synthesis of plasmonic nano-structures for photovoltaic application;
    Amardeep Bharti, Richa Bhardwaj, Ashish K. Agrawal, Navdeep Goyal, Sanjeev Gautam;
    Nature Scientific Reports 6 (2016).,22394

  4. Synchrotron hard X-ray micro-imaging of leaf venation in soybean (Glycine max) after exclusion of solar UV (280-400nm);
    A. Fatima, S.Kataria, K.N. Guruprasad, A. K. Agrawal, B.Singh, P. S. Sarkar, T. Shripathi, Y. Kashyap and  A. Sinha,
    J. Synchrotron Rad. 23,(2016)795-801

  5. Non-destructive evaluation of teeth restored with different resins using synchrotron based micro-imaging;
    A. Fatima, V.K. Kulkarni, N.R. Banda, A.K. Agrawal, B. Singh, P. S. Sarkar, S. Tripathi, T. Shripathi, Y. Kashyap, A. Sinha;
    Journal of X-ray Science and technology  24 (2016) 119–132.

  6. Design, development and first experiments on the X-ray Imaging Beamline at Indus-2 synchrotron source RRCAT, India,
    A. K. Agrawal, B. Singh, Y.S. Kashyap, M. Shukla, P. S. Sarkar, A. Sinha;
    J. Synchrotron Rad. 22, (2015) 1531–1539.

11. Conference Presentations

  1. Observation of de-cohesion damage in Aluminium Metal Matrix Composite at INDUS-2 Imaging beamline using Micro-Tomography;
    Chiradeep Gupta, Ashish K Agrawal, Balwant Singh, P.S. Sarkar, Amar Sinha, Jayanta. K. Chakravartty,
    presented at NMD ATM 2014

  2. Micro-structural Characterization of Materials Using Synchrotron Hard X-ray Imaging Techniques;
    Ashish Kumar Agrawal, Balwant Singh, Yogesh Kashyap, P S Sarkar, Mayank Shukla, Amar Sinha,
    Presented at DAE Solid State Physics Symposium 2015

  3. Phase Contrast Imaging of Buccal Mucosa Tissues-Feasibility Study;
    A Fatima, S Tripathi, T Shripathi, V K Kulkarni, N R Banda, A K Agrawal, P S Sarkar, Y Kashyap, A Sinha.
    Presented at DAE Solid State Physics Symposium 2015.

  4. Development of synchrotron source based X-ray imaging facility at INDUS-2 RRCAT, India,
    Yogesh S. Kashyap, Ashish Agrawal, Mayank Shukla, Balwant Singh, P. S. Sarkar, Tushar Roy and Amar Sinha;
    Presented at NDT conference 2012 Delhi India, and Cheiron School 2013 Spring-8 Japan.

Contact Number : 244 2504


Last Modification on: June 2016
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