Since the early 1970s, x-ray computed tomography (CT) has been one of the most versatile noninvasive investigative techniques in the medical field. It has also enabled nondestructive investigations in many other fields over the past few decades, including industry, archaeology, life science, geoscience, and crime investigations. Unfortunately, conventional x-ray CT systems are only able to achieve spatial resolution at the sub-millimeter scale. Thus, the technique is insufficient for examining the internal structure of objects that require resolution at the micrometer and nanometer scales.
X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT), a more technologically advanced technique, overcomes this critical limitation via the use of high-resolution, wide-dynamic-range CCD cameras; high-resolution scintillators; either synchrotron x-ray sources or microfocus x-ray tubes; and software algorithms designed to reconstruct 3D images. Fiberoptic coupling or optical lens coupling is utilized to project an image onto the CCD detection array. Desktop systems that rely on microfocus x-ray tubes instead of synchrotron sources represent an ongoing trend towards miniaturization and personalization of this imaging technology.
Further details, along with images, read the application note “X-ray μCT provides nondestructive, high-resolution 3D imaging for research and industrial applications” linked in the Library tab.
PI recommends using one of the following advanced cameras for x-ray microcomputed tomography:
To accommodate higher x-ray flux, fiberoptic-coupled desktop μCT systems can use fast-readout, high-sensitivity CCD cameras (e.g, Princeton Instruments’ Quad-RO and PIXIS-XF). The Quad-RO provides a compact, fiberoptic-coupled detector design with an IEEE-1394a data interface, electronically balanced quadrants that yield an extremely uniform raw image, dual readout speeds, four-port / single-port readout options, and on-board memory to guarantee loss-free images.
Our compact PIXIS-XF also utilizes fiberoptic coupling to preserve the highest spatial resolution, has a flexible design that allows phosphor removal for system optimization, and features a USB 2.0 data interface. Both models are supported under LINUX.
To preserve sensitivity and spatial resolution, optical lens-coupled desktop μCT systems often employ cooled cameras designed with megapixel, high-quantum-efficiency CCDs (e.g., Princeton Instruments’ PIXIS:1024B/F and PIXIS:2048B/F).
Many x-ray μCT systems employed at third-generation synchrotron sources feature a camera based on advanced electron-multiplying CCD technology (e.g., Princeton Instruments’ ProEM). This type of scientific camera provides the high speed and outstanding sensitivity required for μCT experiments.
Simulated fluid streamlines through the pore space in a coral. Image courtesy of Dr. Tim Senden, ANU, Canberra, Australia.
A typical μCT solution comprises an x-ray source, a high-resolution rotating stage with a sample holder, a high-performance scientific CCD camera, and a computer. Depending on the system configuration, either fiberoptic coupling or optical lens coupling is utilized to project an image onto the CCD detection array. Recent advances in all of the above-mentioned technologies enable spatial resolution on the order of microns.
X-ray µCT provides nondestructive, high-resolution 3D imaging for research and industrial applications
X-ray computed microtomography uses high-resolution, widedynamic- range CCD cameras, high-resolution scintillators, either synchrotron x-ray sources or microfocus x-ray tubes, and software algorithms designed to reconstruct 3D images.
X-Ray Camera Brochure
Comprehensive information on direct and indirect X-ray detection technologies from Princeton Instruments. Includes related application and technical notes.
Soft x-ray scattering facility at the Advanced Light Source with real-time data processing and analysis
The Princeton Instruments PI-MTE in-vacuum x-ray camera was used in by researchers at North Carolina State and the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley CA.
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