© Frédérique Plas / CNRS Photothèque

Jacques MarteauA pioneer in muon imaging

CNRS medal of innovation

“As a particle physicist, being recognised for an industrial application of my research is unexpected!” admits Jacques Marteau from the Institute of Physics of the 2 Infinities (IP2I) of Lyon (CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1). However, “thanks to a series of interesting encounters and coincidences,” the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 lecturer quickly identified the potential of a technology initially developed for basic research: the muon detector. An elementary particle naturally produced in the atmosphere, the muon crosses through matter over long distances without being absorbed. This makes it possible to explore large structures in 3D, as well as to provide answers to volcanology, geology, and even climatology questions. After a number of patents and industrial contracts, in 2021 Marteau and his team launched the start-up Muodim, which targets a very large market for non-destructive testing applications, aimed for example at the steelmaking, geophysical prospecting, or civil engineering fields.