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TESCAN Spectral CT Takes Research to A New Level at University of Pau

We recently had the pleasure of filming a video with University of Pau (UPPA) in the beautiful south of France. The DMEX Centre for X-ray Imaging at UPPA is our first customer to install a TESCAN UniTOM XL with the new Spectral CT option! As can be read in a previous blog post, Spectral CT revolutionizes micro-CT imaging – for the first time, it is now possible to characterize sample structure and chemical composition in three dimensions, non-destructively, using a single micro-CT solution. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our first Spectral CT solution installed at UPPA’s center for x-ray imaging, which serves the needs of the university’s public and private partners. At TESCAN, we are really looking forward to working with Peter Moonen, Hannelore Derluyn, Pascale Senechal, Stephanie Faucher and the rest of the team to push the boundaries of x-ray imaging in a wide variety of research applications. 

The DMEX Centre for X-ray Imaging opened in 2016 with a primary focus on geosciences. Pau is the home of the largest research center of TOTAL Energies, which brought a lot of knowledge and interest in geosciences to the region. The research in the lab has diversified since its foundation into other fields like energy applications (including batteries, hydrogen production, CO2 sequestration and biogas) and general materials science. 

Some of the research will be focused on environmental sustainability, which of course includes green energy (biofuels and reviewable energy sources), as well as reducing the use of toxic elements in paints and other materials. UPPA is also involved in medical research – researching how the occurrence of elements such as strontium in bones, plays a role in Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis, for example. Preserving humanity’s cultural heritage is another key focus for the university, such as conservation of historical buildings and artwork. The use of Spectral CT for chemical mapping will be critically important across all of these applications.  

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Figure 1: Stéphane Faucher and Pascale Sénéchal, research engineers at the DMEX Center for X-ray Imaging.

Spectral CT is unique in that it not only measures how many x-rays are stopped by a sample but also counts the individual x-ray photons. By measuring the energy of each and every photon reaching the detector, the spectrum can be analyzed, enabling a more precise calculation of the attenuation coefficient of the materials in the sample. This allows the user to calculate densities and see contrast between different materials that are invisible using traditional micro-CT. The user can also identify unknown minerals based on k-edge imaging, remove artefacts that are present in conventional CT scans, or calculate concentrations of different substances in a sample. 

I look forward to seeing the amazing work that Uni Pau will be doing with their UniTOM XL micro-CT system and Spectral CT chemical analysis capability, and most importantly, seeing how their research results will be applied to making the world a better place. 
Learn more about Uni Pau’s lab in this video.


Wesley De Boever

Wesley De Boever
Product marketing Manager for TESCAN micro-CT