Micro- Computed Tomography (micro-CT or μCT) is a non-destructive imaging tool for the production of high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) images composed of two-dimensional (2D) trans-axial projections, different views, or ‘slices’, of a target specimen. Micro-CT equipment is composed of several major components: high-tech micro-focus x-ray tube, very precise radiation filters and collimator (which focuses the beam geometry to cone-beam projection), specimen stand, and detector/charge-coupled device camera . Reconstruction of a 3D image is performed by rotating either the sample (for desktop systems, e.g. LOTUS-NDT) or the emitter and detector (for live animal imaging, e.g. LOTUS-inVivo) to generate a series of 2D projections that will be transformed to a 3D representation by using a digital process called filtered back-projection. This non-destructive imaging modality can produce 3D images and 2D maps with voxels approaching 1 μm, giving it superior resolution to other techniques such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
As previously mentioned, Micro-CT is a 3D imaging technique utilizing X-rays to see internal structure of an object, slice by slice. Micro-CT, also called microtomography or micro computed tomography, is similar to hospital CT or “CAT” scan imaging but on a small scale with greatly increased resolution. Samples can be imaged with pixel sizes as small as 1 micrometers and objects can be scanned as large as 200 millimeters in diameter.
Micro-CT scanners capture a series of 2D planar X-ray images and reconstruct the data into 2D cross-sectional slices. These slices can be further processed into 3D models and even printed as 3D physical objects for analysis. With 2D X-ray systems you can see through an object, but with the power of 3D micro- CT systems you can see inside the object and reveal its internal features. It provides volumetric information about the microstructure, nondestructively.