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Nanotomography, much like its related modalities tomography and microtomography, uses x-rays to create cross-sections from a 3D-object that later can be used to recreate a virtual model without destroying the original model, applying Nondestructive testing. The term nano is used to indicate that the pixel sizes of the cross-sections are in the nanometer range

Nano-CT beamlines have been built at 3rd generation synchrotron radiation facilities, including the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory,[1] SPring-8,[2] and ESRF[3] from early 2000s. They have been applied to wide variety of three-dimensional visualization studies, such as those of comet samples returned by the Startdust mission,[4] mechanical degradation in lithium-ion batteries,[5] and neuron deformation in schizophrenic brains.[6]

Although a lot of research is done to create nano-CT scanners, currently there are only a few available commercially. The SkyScan-2011[7] has a range of about 150 to 250 nanometers per pixel with a resolution of 400 nm and a field of view (FOV) of 200 micrometers. The Xradia nanoXCT[8] has a spatial resolution of better than 50 nm and a FOV of 16 micrometers.[9]

At the Ghent University, the UGCT team developed a nano-CT scanner based on commercially available components. The UGCT facility is an open nano-CT facility giving access to scientists from universities, institutes and industry.[10]


  1. ^ De Andrade, V, Deriy, A, Wojcik, MJ, Gürsoy, D, Shu, D, Fezzaa, K, and De Carlo, F. (2016) "Nanoscale 3D imaging at the Advanced Photon Source", SPIE Newsroom DOI:10.1117/2.1201604.006461.
  2. ^ Takeuchi, A, Uesugi, K, Takano, H, and Suzuki, Y (2002) "Submicrometer-resolution three-dimensional imaging with hard x-ray imaging microtomography", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 73, 4246 DOI:10.1063/1.1515385.
  3. ^ Schroer, C G, Meyer, J, Kuhlmann, M, Benner, B, Günzler, T F, Lengeler, B, Rau, C, Weitkamp, T, Snigirev, A and Snigireva, I. (2002) "Nanotomography based on hard x-ray microscopy with refractive lenses", Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 1527, DOI:10.1063/1.1501451.
  4. ^ Flynn, G J et al. (2006) "Elemental compositions of Comet 81P/Wild 2 samples collected by Stardust", Science 314, 1731-1735 DOI:10.1126/science.1136141.
  5. ^ Müller, S, Pietsch, P, Brandt, B, Baade, P, De Andrade, V, De Carlo, F, and Wood, V. (2018) "Quantification and modeling of mechanical degradation in lithium-ion batteries based on nanoscale imaging", Nat. Commun. 9, 2340 DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-04477-1.
  6. ^ Mizutani, R et al. (2019) "Three-dimensional alteration of neurites in schizophrenia", Transl. Psychiatry 9, 85 DOI:10.1038/s41398-019-0427-4.
  7. ^ SkyScan-2011
  8. ^ Xradia nanoXCT
  9. ^ Tkachuk, A, Duewer, F, Cui, H, Feser, M, Wang, S and Yun, W (2007) "X-ray computed tomography in Zernike phase contrast mode at 8 keV with 50-nm resolution using Cu rotation anode X-ray source", Z. Kristallogr. 222. pp. 650-655
  10. ^ UGCT-website