Comparison to X-ray
The different radiation matter interaction characteristic is the reason for another effect i.e. activation of nuclei by neutron capture producing instable (mainly short lived) radioactive isotopes. Samples have to be tested for radioactivity after neutron imaging before they can leave the beamline.
For imaging the quite different type of X-ray and neutron source characteristics induce further discrepancies. Due to very high brightness of e.g. synchrotron radiation sources very high spatial resolutions are possible i.e. below 1 µm. For µ-focus X-ray tubes enlarging cone-beam optics are feasible, which allows to get high spatial resolution for small samples. Neutron sources have comparably lower source brightness and extracted neutron beams cannot easily be focussed down to spot sizes below 1 mm. Neutron imaging therefore relies mainly on parallel beam irradiation and effective spatial resolution is often limited by the thickness of the scintillator (some 10 µm's as thinnest layer).