The international inauguration symposium for our brand new nanoCT instrument that was installed at our lab end of last year took place at the Faculty of Dentistry on Thursday 1 February. The purpose of this exciting meeting was to introduce the cababilities of our nanoCT to the scientific community in Oslo. We were also treated to a broad introduction to the fascinating world of high-resolution x-ray tomography as presented by some of the top scientist in the field, and hopefully, some of our future scientific collaborators. The first session of the meeting focused on introducing the use of traditional x-ray absorbance tomography to investigate the morphological features of soft tissues, with Liebert Nogueira from the Biomaterials lab discussing some of the most common staining methods for improving x-ray contrast of soft tissues and Simo Saarakkala from University of Oulu introducing us to his microCT work on high-resolution morphological characterisation of cartilage.
DIY contrast to x-ray tomography images
What happens when scientists are allowed to have a little bit of fun in the CT lab? Well, that is exactly what we learned during the second half of the symposium, and it turned out that a lot of exciting things can be done using just Legos and a bit of sandpaper. Emmanuel Brun from ESRF and Inserm at Grenoble showcased the incredible fine-scale detail and contrast between hard and soft tissues achievable using synchrotron x-ray phase contrast tomography, as well as introducing us to his 'do it yourself' lab scale x-ray phase contrast tomograph that involves an ingenious use of sandpaper (and a lot of mathematics...) to provide the necessary phase contrast. Brian Metscher from University of Vienna followed up with an equally fascinating talk that introduced us to totally new way of using Legos: turns out that these modular pieces of plastic are perfect for mounting delicate tissue samples for CT scanning. He also gave us a glimpse of the interesting world of embryology as viewed by microCT and the intriguing prospect of using specific contrast agent to allow more tissue specific imaging the different soft tissue types in microCT.
The symposium was sponsored by the Research Council of Norway through their Nano2021 programme (Grant no. 283055) and the Faculty of Dentistry at University of Oslo.
All photos © Florian Weber / UiO