Non-Destructive Testing platform: Developing and validating innovative industrial testing technologies

The Non-Destructive Testing platform is used to develop new processes, testing methods, sensors, instrumentation, and processing algorithms for the detection of defects in industrial parts.


A platform built for multi-sensor technologies

CEA-List’s Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) platform features innovative hardware and software for research and development in the field of non-destructive testing. The platform possesses all the principal industrial inspection techniques: ultrasound and guided waves, electromagnetic methods, radiography, and tomography. Its R&D partners include innovative energy, aeronautics, and railway companies such as Framatome, EDF, Dassault, Airbus, Safran, ArianeGroup, TechnipFMC, Alstom, Extende, and Eddyfi.

500 m2

of facilities

2 M€

in equipment





The most advanced methods and tools available

Two flagship NDT applications: adaptive ultrasound imaging and X-ray tomography.


Phased array ultrasonic testing instrument and adaptive imaging

Phased array ultrasonic NDT methods increase inspection speed, maximize defect detection, and improve imaging of inspected parts. However, these acoustic methods are very sensitive to local geometric variations during the inspection process. The adaptive imaging techniques developed allow the information obtained about the part’s geometry to be integrated in real time. They continuously adapt the ultrasonic waves and image reconstruction algorithms using the signals from the different transmitter/receiver pairs on the transducer array. These techniques are applied to immersed or flexible sensors in contact with the part.

Developments currently underway include real-time 3D imaging that raises significant technological challenges associated with processing thousands of signals at high speed using algorithmic optimizations and frugal approaches. The main difficulty will be to significantly increase performance without increasing the cost of electronic equipment.


  • Inspection of complex metal or composite components
  • Diagnostic assistance

Major projects

  • EURATOM ADVISE project
  • OSEO IMPACT project
  • ANR OPARUS project


Fast X-ray tomographic reconstruction

X-ray tomography reconstructs a 3D image of an object from a set of X-rays and is a valuable inspection method for the quality control of industrial parts. CEA-List has implemented specific algorithms designed to tackle two challenges associated with this technique. The first is to reduce acquisition times to accelerate inspection rates and increase equipment lifespans. The second is to perform robotic inspections, which are more flexible and better suited to inspecting large-sized parts.

The tools developed by CEA-List provide additional information on the reconstruction space, either through knowledge of the object to be reconstructed or through simulation. These developments include deep learning to minimize the reconstruction artifacts typically seen in low frame rate configurations. They also automatically define non-standard acquisition trajectories, optimized through simulation. These techniques, validated in the CIVA simulation environment and implemented on the robotic X-ray tomography unit, mean that a wide range of inspection configurations can be considered.


  • Inspection of large-sized parts with high aspect ratio
  • Industrial applications (parts conformity inspection and production line control)
  • Medical applications (reduction of dose delivered to patient)
  • Security applications (in-line inspection and automatic detection of undesirable elements)

Major projects

  • H2020 BES02 MULTISCAN3D project
  • DGA RAPID CROX project
  • FP7 ACXIS project
  • ANR VOXELO project

Robotic X-ray tomography unit

The platform features a multi-resolution robotic X-ray tomography unit for inspecting large-sized part with complex geometry.

Use of robotics

The platform can be used to implement processes using multi-axis robotic arms to perform advanced inspections using trajectories not possible with linear axes alone.

Laser ultrasound unit

The platform is equipped with laser ultrasound imaging that can be used to develop innovative contact-free inspection methods, useful for in-process monitoring, especially as part of additive manufacturing processes.

Electromagnetic sensors

The platform has innovative electromagnetic eddy current and giant magnetoresistive (GMR) effect sensors, configured in a matrix. CEA-List designed the sensors.

Multi-element ultrasound instrumentation

The platform provides the instrumentation required for adaptive ultrasound imaging. CEA-List developed the associated processing algorithms and sensors.


CIVA simulation software at the heart of the platform

The platform’s foundation is CEA-List’s CIVA simulation software, developed specifically for NDT.

This software includes a set of simulation and analysis modules for NDT. The main techniques and physics principles used in the industry are available: ultrasound, guided waves, structural health monitoring, eddy current, X-ray radiography and tomography, thermography. In addition to simulation, CIVA offers many performance demonstration features and advanced imaging and processing methods for diagnosis and decision support. Today, more than 300 companies use CIVA and it is the world leader in this field.

Learn more about the CIVA software

The non-destructive testing platform is now a powerful research and development tool, unique in Europe, and one that continues to be enhanced by recent developments in sensors, acquisition systems, and simulation and processing tools.

Moustapha Hafez

Head of the Department of Imaging and Simulation for Testing — CEA List

See also

Software development environments


Simulation for the design, optimization, performance demonstration, and calculation of probability of detection of non-destructive testing procedures.
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