The researchers at Grenoble INP can call on a wide range of efficient tools to characterise materials i.e. study their properties. Amongst the tools available are two tomographs: one that has been installed at the 3S-R laboratory for some years now and another allowing high resolution imaging that will soon be installed at the SIMAP laboratory. This has been made possible through efforts supported by several centres of excellence (Labex) including CEMAM, laboratories and institutes including Grenoble INP. "Tomography is a non-destructive technique that is extensively used in medical imaging as well as in geophysics, explained Luc Salvo, researcher at SIMAP. It uses several hundred x-rays shot at different angles to reconstruct the volume of an object thereby providing access to the internal structure of a material without damaging it”. Moreover, the scientists at Grenoble INP can also take advantage of its proximity to equipment unique in Europe: ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility). The ESRF is an extremely powerful light source that enables scientists to explore inert or living materials with unprecedented precision. Owing to its very short acquisition times, this in situ imaging technique gives an almost real time view of the structural consequences of heat treatment, for example. "At the laboratory, we have used this x-ray source to study, inter alia, the distortion of architectured materials or the solidification of aluminium alloy. One important benefit of the real-time view is that it is no longer necessary to freeze the microstructure at a given stage of the process by placing the sample in water, which may alter the process and distort the result”. The researchers at Grenoble INP have been working with ESRF for more than 20 years.