Micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) is rapidly becoming commonplace in biological applications where the generation of high resolution, isotropic, 3D datasets is useful for both qualitative and quantitative phenotyping as well as visualization. While there is a fairly wide selection of commercial micro-CT scanners, optimization of sample preparation and scanning parameters can require a larger and more specialized setup than what is readily available. The focus of the Cheng lab Wide Field Micro-CT Project is to construct and continuously develop a system that optimizes high (cellular) resolution while maintaining a large field of few.
As of late 2018 the scanner is fully operational, with the majority of remaining work now focused on optimizing field of view and image quality through various customizations in reconstruction techniques and hardware. Currently we are testing scintillators of various thicknesses and materials, improving sample drift correction, and experimenting with scan times to improve resolution, reconstruction quality, and signal to noise ratio. We are most excited about our most recent development, a 10,000 by 7,000 pixel resolution camera that improves our field of view five-fold, allowing us to fit centimeter-scale samples into a single scan. We intend for our developmental micro-CT rig to serve as a financially-viable framework for labs interested in research-oriented CT imaging as well as an easily translatable setup for improved image acquisition at more powerful synchrotron sources.