Inspection for art and conservation

X-ray imaging for artworks: 

Prof. Koen Janssens and prof. Geert Van der Snickt are internationally recognised for their expertise in the chemical analysis of cultural heritage and the chemical imaging of entire paintings, a recent development within this field.

The classic methods to study paintings in a non-invasive way are X-ray radiography or infrared reflectography, techniques that yield an image that is informative on the structure of a painting but do not allow direct identification of materials. The group of prof. Janssens and prof. Van der Snickt develop so called 'chemical imaging' methods such as Macroscopic X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning and X-ray powder diffraction (MA-XRPD). Such scanning instruments provide chemical information from the entire object (both on and below the surface) while the ensuing analytical results are presented in the form of an image. In this way, the resulting images display the distribution of artists' materials over the surface, data that can be easily interpreted by all stakeholders such as conservators, art historians etc. 

Hyperspectral imaging for artworks: 

3D industrial inspection of objects

Inline non-destructive 3D inspection:

There is a widespread rising need from industry to move towards 100% inspection on the internals of the product as opposed to sample-based inspection. Conventional X-ray CT (XCT) requires hundreds to thousands of X-ray images and the object rotates along a fixed circular or helical path, from which it is not possible to deviate. When these requirements are not met, think of time and geometry constraints in industry, the resulting image quality is suboptimal, making that the adoption of XCT for high- throughput quality control until recently was nil. The main challenge in inline X-ray based inspection is to go beyond classical X-ray radiography image processing and make the step towards fast and robust 3D inspection. imec-Visionlab develops advanced software tools and methodologies that enable inline CT solutions that operate within a high-throughput industrial context.

Offline non-destructive 3D inspection: 

Apart from inline inspection, many industries like aerospace, automotive, electronics, etc. have clear needs for offline (i.e. no mass-inspection) non-invasive inspection. Again, X-ray CT is a key technology for such inspection tasks as it is currently the only technology to non-invasively inspect objects with sufficient spatial resolution. Recent developments in X-ray imaging allow to visualize and inspect the interior of (even dynamically changing) objects with multiple contrasts (attenuation, phase contrast, scattering). Unfortunately, while those developments have shown enormous potential, industrial adoption is hindered, mainly by slow imaging processes and expensive and rigid hardware setups. imec-VisionLab develops tomographic image reconstruction, processing and analysis techniques to tackle these challenges.

Quantitative surface inspection of materials and soft tissue