The technique of time-resolved 3D imaging with X-rays has rapidly emerged as an essential part of a researcher’s toolkit for understanding materials evolution. The expansion into “4D” has facilitated in situ investigations ranging from mechanical deformation of solids to fluid flow in porous materials to the evolution of structure in changing environmental conditions. Imaging of dynamic processes specifically processes happening over a short time-period, has been one of the key applications at synchrotron micro-CT beamlines, with temporal resolutions well below one second. However, access to these facilities is often limited, with respect to both time at the beamline and application specificity.
In the laboratory, image quality and spatial resolution have been significantly improved over the last decade, providing researchers routine and regular access to very high quality computed tomography data. However, the advances in temporal resolution have been less accelerated, especially for imaging dynamic processes. Lab-based CT has been limited to pseudo in situ experimentation where data are collected on interrupted processes allowing for the traditionally longer and non-continuous scanning protocols. Additionally, analyzing and visualizing complicated data from 3D studies has been fairly burdensome. Over the last several years, development at TESCAN has focused on addressing these problems and has now made it possible to acquire, visualize, and analyze micro-CT data on uninterrupted and dynamic processes. Through a number of hardware and software advances, temporal resolution has been pushed below 10 seconds per scan, opening up new frontiers for lab-based 4D CT work.
In this talk we explore the challenges and innovations that have led to dynamic CT, highlighting several applications across materials sciences, life sciences, and geosciences.
Luke Hunter is the regional product manager for North and South America for TESCAN’s Micro-CT product lines.