Micro-computed tomography (microCT) has become a standard tool for materials science research as it can efficiently produce quantitative 3D images of nearly any sample. As the reconstructions are generated with non-destructive X-rays, you can gain a complete understanding of the sample without specimen damage and without the need for any additional preparation. Internal structure, geometry, and composition are readily accessible without staining, slicing, cutting, or cross-sectioning. This can subsequently serve as a survey scan for further (typically destructive) analysis with higher resolution techniques such as nanometer-resolution serial sectioning with electron microscopy.
The versatility of microCT means that the technique can be employed across a wide range of applications. For example, the lifetime and reliability of lithium-ion batteries depends greatly on contaminants and defects that develop throughout the life of the battery. A cost-effective, reliable, and artifact-free scanning method that can be applied to the sample multiple times provides structural and temporal insight for quality control and failure analysis.
Conventional microCT tools produce the 3D reconstruction from a series of “tomograms” which are the two-dimensional images generated by a circular X-ray sweep around the sample. These images are stacked into a cylindrical representation of the sample and stitched together to form the final reconstruction. This produces significant artifacts due to misalignments during the stitching process. The Thermo Scientific HeliScan microCT avoids this by observing the sample in one continuous helical scan, which does not require image stitching.
HeliScan microCT offers the versatility needed to obtain quantitative 3D images across a wide range of materials science applications, including additive manufacturing as well as battery and petroleum science research. Due to the helical single-scan capability of the instrument, stitch-free scanning of large volumes is possible with fast acquisition, high resolution, automated sample alignment, and much more.
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