TOMCAT - X02DA: Tomographic Microscopy
A beamline for TOmographic Microscopy and Coherent rAdiology experimenTs
The beamline for TOmographic Microscopy and Coherent rAdiology experimentTs (TOMCAT)  is operated by the X-ray Tomography Group and offers cutting-edge technology and scientific expertise for exploiting the distinctive peculiarities of synchrotron radiation for fast, non-destructive, high resolution, quantitative investigations on a large variety of samples. Absorption-based and phase contrast imaging are routinely performed with isotropic voxel sizes ranging from 0.16 to 11 μm (fields-of-view (h x v) of 0.4 x 0.3 mm2 and 22 x 3-7 mm2, respectively) in an energy range of 8-45 keV. Phase contrast is obtained with simple edge-enhancement, propagation-based techniques [2, 3] or through grating interferometry .
Typical acquisition times are on the order of seconds to a few minutes. However, dynamic processes can be followed in 4D (3D space + time) using the ultra-fast endstation, which provides sub-second temporal resolution  for extended time periods thanks to the in-house developed GigaFRoST system . A laser-based heating system  and a cryojet and cryo-chamber are available as standard installations and are compatible with both the standard and ultra-fast endstations. It is also possible to bring specialized, user-defined instrumentation to TOMCAT. Please contact beamline staff in advance to discuss this option.
A temporal resolution of a few (< 5) minutes can also be achieved with the hard X-ray full-field microscope setup  delivering a pixel size of 80 nm for microscopic samples (~50x50 μm2 field-of-view).
3D tomographic datasets are reconstructed from 2D projections using highly optimized software [9, 10] based on Fourier methods and a user-friendly interface (i.e., an ImageJ plug-in). Remote access to a flexible HPC facility is available for subsequent advanced post-processing and data quantification. A suite of analytical and iterative reconstruction routines is provided, additional ad-hoc tools can be easily installed by the single user.
|Energy range||8-45 keV|
|Highest 3D spatial resolution|| ca. 1 μm in parallel beam geometry
ca. 200 nm in full-field geometry
|Max. temporal resolution||20 Hz|
|Available techniques|| - Absorption-based tomographic microscopy
- Propagation-based phase contrast tomographic microscopy
- Ultra-fast tomographic microscopy
- Grating interferometry
- Absorption and phase contrast nanotomography
|Available devices for in situ sample conditioning|| - Laser-based heating system
- Cryojet and cryo-chamber
Detailed characterization of cellular structure and development of exceptionally preserved ancient tiny fossils from South China by synchrotron based X-ray tomographic microscopy at TOMCAT led an international team of researchers from the University of Bristol and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology to the discovery that animal-like embryos evolved long before the first animals appear in the fossil record.
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new process with which fibre-reinforced composite materials can be precisely X-rayed. This could help to develop better materials with novel properties.
Researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the TOMCAT beamline have achieved a new world record in time-resolved tomography by measuring over 200 tomographies per second during heating of an evolving aluminium metal foam.
A method developed by PSI researchers makes X-ray images of materials even better. The researchers took a number of individual images while moving an optical lens. From these, with the help of computer algorithms, they generated one overall image.
The PSI Thesis Medal is awarded every second year to the best PhD thesis performed at the Paul Scherrer Institut. Matias received the prize for his excellent thesis entitled "Direct Self-Imaging Methods for X-ray Differential Phase and Scattering Imaging". Congratulations!
The TOMCAT team in collaboration with scientists from CFEL, MaxIV and ESRF developed a method for hard X-ray multi-projection imaging, using a single crystal to split the beam into multiple beams with different directions.
The PSI in-house developed GigaFRoST high-speed camera and readout system is available for fast imaging experiments at the TOMCAT beamline, opening up exciting new possibilities for the observation of fast dynamic phenomena with X-ray tomography.
- M. Stampanoni, A. Groso, A. Isenegger, G. Mikuljan, Q. Chen, A. Bertrand, S. Henein, R. Betemps, U. Frommherz, P. Bohler, D. Meister, M. Lange, and R. Abela, "Trends in synchrotron-based tomographic imaging: the SLS experience", Developments in X-Ray Tomography V, Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (Spie), 6318, U199-U212 (2006). DOI: 10.1117/12.679497
- A. Groso, R. Abela, and M. Stampanoni, "Implementation of a fast method for high resolution phase contrast tomography", Optics Express, 14, 8103-8110 (2006). DOI: 10.1364/OE.14.008103
- D. Paganin, S. C. Mayo, T. E. Gureyev, P. R. Miller, and S. W. Wilkins, "Simultaneous phase and amplitude extraction from a single defocused image of a homogeneous object", Journal of Microscopy, 206, 33-40 (2002). DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2818.2002.01010.x
- S. A. McDonald, F. Marone, C. Hintermüller, G. Mikuljan, C. David, F. Pfeiffer, and M. Stampanoni, "Advanced phase-contrast imaging using a grating interferometer", J. Synchrotron Rad., 16, 562-572 (2009). DOI: 10.1107/S0909049509017920
- R. Mokso, F. Marone, D. Haberthur, J. C. Schittny, G. Mikuljan, A. Isenegger, and M. Stampanoni, "Following Dynamic Processes by X-ray Tomographic Microscopy with Sub-second Temporal Resolution", 10th International Conference on X-Ray Microscopy, 1365, 38-41 (2011). DOI: 10.1063/1.3625299
- R. Mokso, C. M. Schlepütz, G. Theidel, H. Billich, E. Schmid, T. Celcer, et al., "GigaFRoST: The Gigabit Fast Readout System for Tomography", J. Synchrotron Rad., 24 (6), 1250-1259 (2017). DOI: 10.1107/S1600577517013522
- J. L. Fife, M. Rappaz, M. Pistone, T. Celcer, G. Mikuljan, and M. Stampanoni, "Development of a laser-based heating system for in-situ synchrotron-based x-ray tomographic microscopy", J. Synchrotron Rad., 19, 352 (2012). DOI: 10.1107/S0909049512003287
- M. Stampanoni, R. Mokso, F. Marone, J. Vila-Comamala, S. Gorelick, P. Trtik, et al., "Phase-contrast tomography at the nanoscale using hard x-rays", Physical Review B, 81, 140105R (2010). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.81.140105
- F. Marone, and M. Stampanoni, "Regridding reconstruction algorithm for real time tomographic imaging", J. Synchrotron Rad., 19, 1029-1037 (2012). DOI: 10.1107/S0909049512032864
- F. Marone, A. Studer, H. Billich, L. Sala, and M. Stampanoni, "Towards on-the-fly data post-processing for real-time tomographic imaging at TOMCAT", Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging, 3, 1 (2017). DOI: 10.1186/s40679-016-0035-9