Researchers Set Up, Test New MicroCT Imaging System

Researchers, including George Sabo, left, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and Ashly Romero, doctoral student in anthropology, learn about the new MicroCT system.
Photo Submitted

Researchers, including George Sabo, left, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and Ashly Romero, doctoral student in anthropology, learn about the new MicroCT system.

Researchers in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering recently installed and tested the University of Arkansas' new MicroCT imaging system located in the J.B. Hunt Center of Academic Excellence Building.

Commonly referred to as "CT" — the same sort of scanning used for medical-imaging — computed tomography uses X-ray technology to generate high-resolution 2-D and 3-D representations of an object's internal and external structure. MicroCT produces images that allow researchers to examine materials down to the micro- (less than or equal to 0.1 millimeter) and even nano-scale (less than 0.001 millimeter).

MicroCT enables researchers to visualize bones, teeth and archeological artifacts up close and internally, without dismantling or destroying them, and will thus help researchers gain new and exciting information about evolution, human behavior and cognitive function. But these applications only scratch the surface. MicroCT can also be used for analysis of additive-manufacturing techniques, aerospace technologies, biomedically engineered bone and soft tissue structures, and many other items — basically any object the size of a basketball or smaller and weighing no more than 110 pounds.

Managed by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies and supported by a $625,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and the University of Arkansas, the MicroCT Imaging Consortium for Research and Outreach is committed to sharing its work with the public. Educators and students can submit samples for scanning at no charge.


Iodine-enhanced scan of a hatchling American alligator head, showing selected soft tissues. The light blue is the brain, purple shows cranial nerves, darker blue is the olfactory bulb, and orange shows eye muscles. Image by Paul Gignac and Nate Kley.
 

False-colored, sliced rendering of a blackberry, showing its internal structure, including seeds inside individual berries or “drupelets,” and the central portion of the fruit, or the “torus.” Image by Haley O’Brien and the Department of Horticulture.

Fetal badger specimen, color-enhanced with diceCT technique. The iodine stain shows detail of soft tissues. Spaces inside the specimen represent portions of the gastrointestinal tract. Image by Haley O’Brien.
 

Rat snake head, prepared using an iodine-based technique that enhances visualization of soft tissues, including the brain, cranial nerves and spinal cord, muscles of the jaw and neck, plus glands, nasal tissues skin of the head. Image by Paul Gignac and Nate Kley.
 

To learn more about the consortium and system, and to view additional images, visit Research Frontiers.

Contacts

Claire Terhune, assistant professor
Department of Anthropology
479-856-3529, cterhune@uark.edu

Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

Headlines

U of A United Way Campaign Needs You 'Now More Than Ever'

Join Deans Margaret Sova McCabe and Deacue Fields in this year's campaign, "Now More Than Ever," which has a goal of raising $100,000 to help children and families in need.

Arkansas World Trade Center Receives $124,000 in STEP Grant Funding

The World Trade Center Arkansas received more than $120,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration on Monday, Sept. 28, to help Arkansas small businesses enter the global market.

Grant to Advance Tech for Traumatic Brain Injury Study

A biomedical engineering research team has been awarded $135,000 from the NSF to use "organ-on-a-chip" technology to study long-term impacts of traumatic brain injury and neurological diseases.

Chancellor Encourages Continued COVID-19 Testing; Shares Dean Transition

U of A Chancellor Joe Steinmetz wrote to the campus community encouraging everyone to continue getting tested for COVID-19 if they have any reason to believe they have been exposed.

Grants for Humanities Research by Faculty, Grad and Undergrad Students on Systemic Racism

The Steering Committee of the University of Arkansas Humanities Center has approved an expanded competition for grants funding humanities research on systemic racism. Applications due Oct. 31.

News Daily