Meet the Team
Tim Sledz was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Micro Photonics in January 2015, after having served as General Manager overseeing its lab for seven years. Now responsible for the vision and direction of the company, Sledz is committed to advancing scientific knowledge by providing leading-edge instruments and services to researchers involved in ground-breaking studies.
With over 15 years experience with micro-CT and a personal interest in historical objects, Sledz was thrilled to get the chance to work with the Jamestown Rediscovery team on their singular project. He especially appreciated being part of a collaborative effort focused on providing the best and most accurate information possible about a newly discovered piece of history.
“Seeing the first images come up on the scan, we all were excited … It was like getting a sneak peek at a present … We all knew that this undertaking was going to be something truly special … It was thrilling to be a part of the project from the initial scan to the announcement at the Smithsonian!”
Benjamin Ache is responsible for managing projects and relationships with clients who rely on X-ray micro- and nano-Computed Tomography (CT) scientific instruments for their research projects. His clients span a broad range of fields, including materials science, bioengineering, orthopedics, medical devices, geology, and the life sciences. Ache works closely with the Micro Photonics team of dedicated engineers and support staff to ensure that clients achieve their project goals.
Ache fielded the initial calls from both the FBI lab and Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists, who were interested in the potential of micro-CT imaging to provide more information about their archaeological find – and to unlock some of its mysteries. Ache was excited about the project from the moment he heard about.
“We have scanned some pretty unusual and remarkable objects over the years, but it was clear right from the start that this one had its own level of intrigue. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to invite Mr. Givens and Mr. Lavin from Jamestown Rediscovery into our imaging lab to perform the first micro-CT of the mysterious silver box.”
Brandon Walters is responsible for overseeing all of the instruments in the Micro Photonics lab, including the SkyScan 1172, 1173, 1174, and 1272 systems. He is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality in demonstrations, samples, and reports. Walters is also directly involved in coordinating and constructing 3D images and 3D printed models.
The particular challenges posed by the Jamestown reliquary piqued Walters’ interest: Would the silver metal exterior block the radiation? How best to segment the models? Would they turn out well when 3D printed? Regardless, he understood that micro-CT imaging, given its noninvasive aspect, was the perfect technique to use for this historically important object. Over months of dedicated effort, Walters generated the riveting 3D images and 3D models described on this site.
“When the silver box first came in, we were fascinated to see what was inside, because the Jamestown Rediscovery team didn’t know either … Originally we saw two metal pieces and through further investigation saw bone fragments inside. It became a very advanced and exciting project.”
Raj Manoharan specializes in training clients in how to best use their imaging equipment to optimize results for their unique applications, in orthopedic, geological, or archaeological fields. Manoharan has a background in biomedical engineering and a specialty scanning mice and rat bones, providing information crucial to many areas of pre-clinical research. He enjoys the challenge of helping clients find answers to their individual needs by demonstrating how micro-CT can provide novel data and advance their studies.
Together with Ache and Walters, Manoharan generated multiple scans and models of the silver box over a period of several months. He recalled how their approach to the initial scan reflected their level of attention to the entire project.
“We dedicated two whole days solely to the initial scan. We scanned the relic at different energies and different resolutions, scanning it several times in different positions … trying to get the best location for the objects inside.”