3D imaging center, DTU. Photo: Mikal Schlosser

New Danish research centre gains strong international position

Tuesday 23 Jun 20


Henning Friis Poulsen
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 19
The new Danish research infrastructure DANFIX will be housed in DTU’s world-class 3D imaging centre. A new lighthouse associated with the international neutron facility European Spallation Source, ESS, will also be linked to the centre.

The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science has just allocated DKK 24 million to a new research infrastructure, DANFIX—the National X-Ray Imaging Facility. DANFIX will be located in DTU’s 3D imaging centre. The centre will be the largest of its kind in Europe, and DANFIX will strengthen its leading international position in the field of X-ray and neutron radiation imaging. 

"We’re proud to be able to house DANFIX in our newly built 3D imaging centre. Here, the entire Danish research environment across the natural, technical and health sciences will benefit from the unique opportunities offered by X-ray technology"
Anders Bjarklev, President at DTU

“We’re proud to be able to house DANFIX in our newly built 3D imaging centre. Here, the entire Danish research environment across the natural, technical and health sciences will benefit from the unique opportunities offered by X-ray technology. By looking into hard materials such as metals and biological bones, we will in future be able to gain a much greater understanding of their properties and functions,” says DTU’s President Anders Bjarklev. 

DANFIX will be used, among other things, for research in areas as diverse as energy technology, health and the green transition. In addition, the new research infrastructure will enable increased digitalization, for example of museum collections, and will be able to provide substantial knowledge for the development of new health and manufacturing technologies, among other things. 

Close connection to large international facilities

The new world-class facilities at DTU are closely linked to the large international X-ray and neutron research facilities being built at MAX IV and at ESS in Lund, Sweden. 

“We think that in future the DANFIX and 3D imaging centre will enable us to use the even more advanced X-ray and neutron facilities at MAX IV and ESS. In both places, we’re committed to developing scientific instruments that will be ready for users within the next couple years. And the resolution of the visualizations will be much greater than on our local CT scanners,” says Professor Henning Friis Poulsen, DTU Physics, who heads the 3D imaging centre. 

The lighthouse environment will contribute to new research standards

Henning Friis Poulsen is also in charge of a new Danish ESS lighthouse environment, SOLID, which is part of the Danish investment in the new international research infrastructure ESS in Lund. SOLID is one of three research lighthouses that will be used to take advantage of the new technological opportunities in materials research that the neutron facility will provide after it opens in a couple of years’ time. 

SOLID focuses on research into hard crystalline materials. 

“At SOLID, we focus on filming in 3D how the structures in for example batteries or bones develop over time. The neutron and X-rays will thus be able to complement each other and give us valuable new knowledge in a wide range of fields,” says Henning Friis Poulsen.

The SOLID lighthouse is currently being constructed, so Danish researchers will soon have the opportunity to make the final preparations before the ESS opens, and help design the standards for future research on the world’s most powerful neutron source. 

Both DANFIX and SOLID will officially open in the autumn along with DTU’s new 3D imaging centre.



DANFIX—The National X-Ray Imaging Facility—is being established in collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, Roskilde University and DTU. 

In addition, the Capital Region of Denmark has played an important role in the preparation for the establishment of DANFIX. 


ESS, the European Spallation Source, is under construction in Lund, Sweden, and is expected to be ready for the first scientific trials in 2023. The neutron source will be considerably more powerful than the other similar installations that exist today. 

ESS will operate by accelerating protons in a 500 m long tunnel, after which they will strike a tungsten target and shoot neutrons away from the tungsten nuclei. This is what is called spallation. The neutrons are guided towards the instruments, where they can penetrate materials to reveal their hidden structures, down to the location of individual atoms.

Under the Danish Finance Act, a DKK 34.8 million granted has been awarded for the construction of the Danish ESS lighthouse SOLID.


The X-ray source MAX IV, located in Lund, Sweden, opened in the summer of 2016. 

The X-ray source in MAX IV is a synchrotron—a ring-shaped accelerator in which electrons circulate at close to the speed of light. As a result, they release electromagnetic energy in the form of X-ray radiation. In MAX IV, the electrons move in a significantly more ideal orbit in the ring than in other existing synchrotrons. This leads to a more concentrated form of X-ray radiation with less lateral spread. The result is better quality analysis results and faster measurements.

News and filters

Get updated on news that match your filter.