The aim of the research project AutoTron funded by the BMBF and conducted together with the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center of the Technical University of Munich is to increase the efficiency and expand the range of applications of robot-assisted sample positioning in neutron diffraction. The robotic system developed in the predecessor project RAPtOr with an absolute positioning accuracy of less than 50 μm is now able to handle most scientific cases at STRESS-SPEC and opens up new measurement possibilities.
In the follow-up AutoTron project, this newfound flexibility will be further extended and the higher level of automation will be used to reduce the time and effort required for instrument calibration and sample setup by 20%. This will further expand the measurement capabilities while significantly improving the efficiency and usability of the STRESS-SPEC thermal neutron diffractometer at MLZ in Garching.
In addition, it will be possible to position the increasingly complex sample geometries (e.g. additively manufactured components) in a less error-prone manner using established assistance systems. These systems simplify and accelerate the tasks of scientists in sample preparation, alignment and definition of measurement locations during an experiment and enable new measurement options, such as the complete evaluation of the stress tensor for complex sample shapes.