Recent developments in the MUCAT microtomography facility


The goal of the MuCAT scanner development at Queen Mary University of London is to provide highly accurate maps of a specimen’s X-ray linear attenuation coefficient; speed of data acquisition and spatial resolution having a lower priority. The reason for this approach is that the primary application is to accurately map the mineral concentration in teeth. Synchrotron tomography would generally be considered more appropriate for such a task, but many of the dental applications involve repeated scans with long intervening periods (from hours to weeks) and the management of synchrotron facilities does not readily allow such research. Development work is concentrated in two areas: beam hardening correction algorithms and novel scanning methodology. Beam hardening correction is combined with calibration, such that the raw X-ray projection data is corrected for beam hardening prior to reconstruction. Recent developments include the design of a multi-element calibration carousel. This has nine calibration pieces, five aluminium, three titanium and one copper. Development of the modelling algorithm is also yielding improved accuracy. A time-delay integration CCD camera is used to avoid ring artefacts. The original prototype averaged out inhomogeneities in both the detector array and the X-ray field; later designs used only software correction for the latter. However, at lower X-ray energies, the effect of deposits on the X-ray window (for example) becomes more conspicuous and so a new scanning methodology has been designed whereby the specimen moves in an arc about the source and equiangular data is acquired, thus overcoming this problem.

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 8506 · October 2012