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    Home / Support / Micro-CT Support Page / FAQs on Micro-CT Scanning

    FAQs on Micro-CT Scanning

    Covid-19 Update – We will continue to offer our micro-CT support services remotely during this time.
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    How long does a micro-CT scan take?

    • This is similar to asking how long is a string.  It depends on the system you are using, the sample you are scanning, the number of pixels being used to image the sample, and the signal quality you are looking for in your results.  Some scans can be completed in as little as 80 seconds for low density samples, and some high density scans can take up to 14 hours.  The flexibility of changing scanning options on the Bruker SkyScan micro-CT systems allows you to cover a wide range of applications on a single system and an even wider range on the full line of SkyScan micro-CT systems.
    • The stability of the sample also determines how long you can scan a sample. The sample must be exactly the same at the end of scan as it was at the beginning of a scan.  That means that samples should not dry out or shift during a scan. If this is a possibility, than it is best to go with a shorter scan time.  More stable samples allow you to scan for longer times if needed.

    How much does a micro-CT scanner cost?

    • There are many factors which influence the price of a micro-CT scanner.  For a thorough explanation you can visit an entire article dedicate to this topic. Micro-CT Cost
    • We also offer contract work for those researchers who need micro-CT results but either don’t have a budget for it or have a limited number of samples.
    • Leasing to purchase is also an option we can discuss with you

    How does a micro-CT work?

    What is the difference between in vivo and ex vivo micro-CT scanners?

    Can I lease a micro-CT system?

    • Often when customers ask us if they can lease a system, they want to rent for a short period of time.  Call us to discuss this possibility.  We consider this on a case by case basis.
    • There are several possibilities for long term leasing.  It is best talk to us about the specifics of what you are looking for so we find a solution that best suits your needs.

    What are the differences among the various models of SkyScan micro-CT systems?

    • We are happy to learn more about your samples and the results you are looking for in order to help you decide which system would best suit your needs.  There are systems for large samples and high energies (SkyScan 1173 and 2214), for high resolution (SkyScan 1172, 1272, and 2214- which goes submicron), and systems for medium resolution (SkyScan 1275),  systems for studying living animals (SkyScan 1176, 1278), and a micro-CT which can be inserted into an SEM
    • See the micro-CT Buyer’s Guide for more information


    Can I scan a …

    • We are often asked if a certain type of sample can be scanned.  Generally we respond by saying that anything smaller than 8 inches in diameter can be imaged in a system.  The effectiveness of the scan depends on the composition of the sample.  Micro-CT is an x-ray based imaging technique so x-rays need to pass through the sample and be partially absorbed.  If x-rays can’t reach the detector through 185 degrees of rotation, then the sample probably can’t be imaged.  Alternatively, if the sample doesn’t absorb x-rays or there is no difference in absorption between the materials you want to image, then it may not work either.  For more information visit:
    • Micro Photonics carries four different Bruker Micro-CT systems in our lab.  We would be happy to talk with you further to see if it would be worth sending in a sample to test on our instruments.  It allows you to test drive the systems on your specific sample.

    Can I scan multiple samples?

    • Yes.  On most systems you can put multiple samples in the sample tube and then select different scanning regions in the acquisition software
    • On the SkyScan 1272 you can use the optional sample carousel which will automatically load samples into the chamber, optimize the scan parameters, and start the scan.

    Can I micro-CT a living animal?

    • Yes, the SkyScan 1176 and 1278 are capable of scanning living mice and rats.  The 1176 can also scan the hind limb of some larger animals.


    What type of training do you offer with a system purchase?

    • After the onsite installation, we provide you with onsite training on: scanning, reconstruction, analysis, 3D model and movie creation.  We also offer our users a Learning center with instructional videos, tips, user FAQs and more to refresh their training.  It is also a good resource when new users / students are introduced to the instrument.
    • We also offer online web sessions for fine tuning after the initial training session.
    • We understand the importance of your research so we  want you to have the highest quality scans possible on your samples.
    • There is a monthly newsletter with information on tips, videos and an image of the month as well.

    Can we purchase additional onsite training?

    • Yes this is a possibility.  We offer 2, 3, 5 day sessions.

    What other resources are there for training?

    • Micro Photonics offers a yearly users’ meeting in the US which consists of micro-CT overview, hands on training, software update reviews, and a questions and answer session.
    • Bruker Micro-CT offers a user meeting in Europe as well.  This has user presentations  on applications, user application posters, image contests, and presentations by Bruker Micro-CT personnel.


    What analysis software does the system come with?

    How do I reconstruct the data?

    • With NRecon you can convert your projection images to cross sectional data. You can preview your data, adjust reconstruction parameters, and setup batch reconstructions

    How do I view the data?

    • Bruker has developed an advanced viewing software (DataViewer) for the cross sections which allows you to view the cross-sections and also the orthogonal views.  see: (link to DataViewer page software page)

    How about 3D viewing?

    Can more than one person use the software?

    • We want you to be able to use the system to its fullest capability.  That includes allowing other researchers within you institution to utilize the system as well (at your discretion).  As long as the person is in the same institution, they can have a copy of most of the Bruker micro-CT software as well.

    If I don’t have a micro-CT system can I purchase the software?

    • For customers who get sample data from our lab (or other labs) but would like to perform the analysis themselves, we offer the possibility of selling the CTAn software.  Contact us for more information.

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