Micro computed tomography (mCT) is well established in virtually all fields of biomedical research, allowing for the non-destructive volumetric visualization of tissue morphology. A variety of specimens can be investigated, ranging from soft to hard tissue to engineered structures like scaffolds. Similarly, the size of the objects of interest ranges from a fraction of a millimeter to several tens of centimeters. While synchrotron radiation-based μCT still offers unrivaled data quality, the ever-improving technology of cathodic tube-based machines offers a valuable and more accessible alternative. The Biomaterials Science Center of the University of Basel operates a nanotomOR
m (phoenix|x-ray, GE Sensing and Inspection Technologies GmbH, Wunstorf, Germany), with a 180 kV source and a minimal spot size of about 0.9 μm. Through the adjustable focus-specimen and focus-detector distances, the effective pixel size can be adjusted from below 500 nm to about 80 μm. On the high-resolution side, it is for example possible to visualize the tubular network in sub-millimeter thin dentin specimens. It is then possible to
locally extract parameters such as tubule diameter, density, or alignment, giving information on cell movements during tooth formation. On the other side, with a horizontal shift of the 3,072 pixels x 2,400 pixels detector, specimens up to 35 cm in diameter can be scanned. It is possible, for example, to scan an entire human knee, albeit with inferior resolution. Lab source μCT machines are thus a powerful and flexible tool for the advancement of biomedical research, and a valuable and more accessible alternative to synchrotron radiation facilities.