The technique

A CT scan, also called X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) or computerized axial tomography scan (CAT scan), makes use of series of 2D X-ray images of an object taken from different angles (see left-hand image in figure below) to produce 3D cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual ‘slices’) of a scanned object (see right-hand image in figure below). This 3D reconstruction from a CT scan allows the user to see inside the object without destroying the structure and produces contrast between different material types depending upon their relative composition and density. A micro-CT scanner is specifically designed to study small objects (1 mm to 20 cm diameter) at high resolutions (1 to 70 micrometer).

Micro-CT Images of a Foram

The TrACEES platform offers micro-CT scans of objects using a GE phoenix nanotom m micro-CT scanner (pictured in title banner). Examples of objects range from biological, geological to engineered specimens with capabilities and case studies outlined below.


A range of services are offered through the TrACEES platform, including:

– High resolution scans using a nanotom m micro-CT scanner
– Segmentation and quantitative data analysis
– Quality control, material assessment
– Method development for publication
– Visualisation and animation within objects
– Surface meshes for modelling and 3D printing

Examples of object types and analyses which can be conducted using this technique include:

Biological samples: Imaging soft tissue and skeletal structure of preserved animals; quantifying segmented structure volume and distances; plant root distribution in soil
Geological samples: Imaging mineralogical heterogeneity; grain size distribution, quantifying porosity and pore network analysis; simulated permeability; fossil structures
Engineered samples: Imaging composite materials; quantifying aggregate or particle distributions; imaging fractures and pores within manufactured objects; 500 Newton compressive-tensile stage testing

Case studies

BIOLOGICAL: Thylacine pouch young developmental stages (click here)
GEOLOGICAL: Properties of Reservoir Rocks (click here)

Contact / Consultation

Dr Jay Black, Academic specialist

School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010

Analytical services

University of Melbourne and external academic users
Service Agreement
click to view fee

Industry client
Enquire here


Workshops are organised on an annual basis. Please see our event page for details.