Positron imaging techniques for process engineering: recent developments at Birmingham

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Colleges, School and Institutes


For over 20 years the University of Birmingham has been using positron-emitting radioactive tracers to study engineering processes. The imaging technique of positron emission tomography (PET), widely used for medical applications, has been adapted for these studies, and the complementary technique of positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) has been developed. The radioisotopes are produced using the Birmingham MC40 cyclotron, and a variety of techniques are employed to produce suitable tracers in a wide range of forms. Detectors originally designed for medical use have been modified for engineering applications, allowing measurements to be made on real process equipment, at laboratory or pilot plant scale. This paper briefly reviews the capability of the techniques and introduces a few of the many processes to which they have been applied.


Original languageEnglish
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • PEPT, radioactive tracers, PET