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Combining neutron and X-ray tomography. a 3D-rendered image of co-registered X-ray (rendered in grey) and neutron data (red). Virtual cuts reveal the interior structure of the sand column including the cardboard disc and some of the potential MP particles. The front cutting plane is also displayed in 2D as X-ray (b) and neutron image (c) to illustrate the complementary character of these imaging modalities. d The bivariate histogram of a sample sub-volume containing a plastic and a mineral particle labelled with “1” and “2”, respectively. The histogram illustrates that the different components can be better identified by dual-mode imaging. The red-marked area is the target range fulfilling both thresholds and thus the voxels assigned to belong to MPs