Opportunities for Dynamic CT Imaging in the Laboratory

Dynamic and time-lapse CT with X-rays has rapidly emerged as an essential technique to understand material evolution, facilitating in situ investigations ranging from mechanical deformation to fluid flow in porous materials and beyond. Imaging of dynamic processes is one of the key applications at synchrotron facilities, pushing the time resolution more and more down with quite some success.

In the laboratory, image quality and spatial resolution have been significantly improved, often at the cost of temporal resolution, however. Recent developments at TESCAN XRE have made it possible to visualize and inspect the dynamic processes in the laboratory with a temporal resolution below 10 seconds. In this study, we explore the challenges and innovations that have led to this capability. Two different scan approaches: time-lapse CT and dynamic CT will be explained during an examination of germinating seeds.


As a non-destructive technique, micro-CT is an optimal technique to take repetitive scans of the same sample over time. The combination of taking different scans over time is called dynamic or time-lapse CT. By doing so, the scans can demonstrate how materials form, deform, and perform over time or under certain external conditions. On the one hand, during the time interval, external parameters can be manipulated by using in-situ stages such as pressure or temperature stages. On the other hand, the sample itself can form or deform on its own (swelling, drying, growing, etc.).

Dynamic imaging of germinating seeds

The popularity of dynamic CT is drastically increasing, but still, not many people are performing dynamic experiments on a regular base. This can be explained by the fact that performing dynamic experiments has some practical challenges during every step of the process (acquisition, reconstruction, visualization, and analysis). Dedicated 4D designed workflows are needed to handle the complete workflow from acquisition to the analysis.

In this study, different approaches for both dynamic and time-lapse CT will be discussed. Dedicated hardware and software tools are being developed at TESCAN XRE to facilitate the execution of dynamic CT experiments in an intuitive and streamlined workflow.

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Founded in 1991 by a group of managers and engineers from Tesla with its electron microscopy history starting in the 1950’s, today TESCAN is a globally renowned supplier of Focused Ion Beam workstations, Scanning Electron Microscopes and Optical Microscopes.  TESCAN’s innovative solutions and collaborative nature with its customers have won it a leading position in the world of nano- and microtechnology.  The company is proud to participate in premier research projects with prominent institutions across a range of scientific fields.  TESCAN provides its clients with leading-class products in terms of value, quality and reliability.  TESCAN USA Inc. is the North American arm of TESCAN ORSAY HOLDINGS, a multinational company established by the merger of Czech company TESCAN, a leading global supplier of SEMs and Focused Ion Beam workstations, and the French company ORSAY PHYSICS, a world leader in customized Focused Ion Beam and Electron Beam technology.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by TESCAN.

For more information on this source, please visit Tescan.com.


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