X-Ray Tomography Group
Prof. Stampanoni heads a group of over 20 people, including three staff scientists, two technicians, one controls engineer, and many postdocs and PhD students. The team focuses on the development of tools, both instrumentation and algorithms, for tomographic X-ray imaging, exploiting synchrotron and laboratory sources. The group is engaged in the design and construction of ultra-fast data acquisition systems (stroboscopic coherent X-ray radiology and tomography) to provide dynamic investigation of rapidly evolving systems. The group also intensively develops optimized applications for fast, concurrent post-processing of tomographic data starting from simple normalization corrections to ad-hoc reconstruction and artifact reductions algorithms. Finally, the group investigates, creates and optimizes novel imaging modalities based on the coherent properties of synchrotron radiation and works on the transition of such work to conventional x-ray sources.
A group of EMPA and ETH Zürich researchers have developed a new method to directly write ink made of silica aerogels in 3D. Thanks to X-ray phase contrast tomography at the TOMCAT beamline they characterized the resulting printed material with different compositions. Their results were published in Nature on August 18, 2020.
Metal-based nanoparticles are a promising tool in medicine – as a contrast agent, transporter of active substances, or to thermally kill tumor cells. Up to now, it has been hardly possible to study their distribution inside an organism. Researchers at the University of Basel in collaboration with the TOMCAT team have used phase contrast X-ray tomographic microscopy to take high-resolution captures of the nanoparticle aggregation inside zebrafish embryos.
The study was published in the journal Small and featured on the cover of its current issue.
The team of Prof. Thomas Hermans at the University of Strasbourg in France managed to create wall-less aqueous liquid channels called anti-tubes. Thanks to X-ray phase contrast tomography at the TOMCAT beamline those anti-tubes could be observed in 3D. The exciting results were published in Nature on May 6, 2020.
The TOMCAT beamline at the Swiss Light Source specializes in rapid high-resolution 3-dimensional tomographic microscopy measurements with a strong focus on biomedical imaging. The team has recently developed a technique to acquire micrometer-scale resolution datasets on the entire lung structure of a juvenile rat in its fresh natural state within the animal’s body and without the need for any fixation, staining or other alteration that would affect the observed structure (E. Borisova et al., 2020, Histochem Cell Biol).
In December 2020 the Swiss parliament approved the Swiss Dispatch on Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) for 2021 to 2024 which includes funding for the planned SLS 2.0 upgrade. The new machine will lead to significantly increased brightness, thus providing a firm basis for keeping the SLS and its beamlines state-of-the-art for the decades to come. The TOMCAT crew is very excited that the TOMCAT 2.0 plans (deployment of the S- and I-TOMCAT branches, see SLS 2.0 CDR, p. 353ff) have been included in the Phase-I beamline upgrade portfolio. These beamlines will receive first light right after the commissioning of the SLS 2.0 machine around mid 2025. A first milestone towards this goal has just been achieved, with the successful installation of the S-TOMCAT optics hutch during W1 of 2021. The TOMCAT scientific and technical staff would like to thank Mr. Nolte and his Innospec crew for delivering perfectly on schedule.
TOMCAT welcomes Gianluca Iori, beamline scientist from BEATS - the new beamline for tomography at the SESAME synchrotron in Jordan, to a 3-month training on beamline operations. Gianluca’s visit is part of the Staff Training (BEATS Work Package 2) organized for BEATS scientific staff and SESAME control engineers. BEATS is a European project, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by the ESRF.
The X-ray Tomography group welcomes Stefan Gstöhl (Post-Doc), Maxim Polikarpov (Post-Doc), Margaux Schmeltz (Post-Doc) and Aleksandra Ivanovic (PhD Student) as new members. The group also thank everybody who helped making it possible for our Post-Docs and PhD student to join PSI amidst the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A fully automatized iterative reconstruction pipeline designed to reconstruct and segment dynamic processes within a static matrix has been developed at TOMCAT. The algorithm performance is demonstrated on dynamic fuel cell data where it enabled automatic extraction of liquid water dynamics from sub-second tomographic microscopy data. The work is published in Scientific Reports on 2 October 2020.
In a recent study, TOMCAT has shown that lossy compression by a factor of at least 3 to 4 of raw acquisitions generally does not affect the reconstruction quality and that higher factors (six to eight times) can be achieved for tomographic volumes with a high signal-to-noise ratio as it is the case for phase-retrieved datasets. This finding is relevant to current challenges on large tomography data management and storage especially at synchrotron facilities. The results of this study was published in Journal of Synchrotron Radiation.
Microcalcifications are the most important indicator in the diagnosis of early breast cancer. The team of X-ray tomography group, in collaboration with Kantonsspital Baden, has carried out a reader study to characterize microcalcifications non-invasively using grating interferometry. This study reveals a potential way to discriminate benign and malignant lesions at early stage.