University of Nottingham

Micro-CT: Hounsfield Facility

Visualise material structures in high resolution and 3D using Micro-CT

Micro-CT at a glance

 X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a non-invasive, non-destructive imaging technique permitting the visualisation and quantification of the interior structure of an object in three dimensions.

'Micro-CT' refers to the fact that the pixel sizes of the image cross-sections are in the micrometre range.


  • Visualisation of internal morphology in 3D
  • Defect and fault analysis
  • Temporal variations in structure
  • Phase separation and analysis
  • Multi-resolution imaging  

How does Micro-CT work?

X-ray CT technology provides high resolution 3D images of the internal structure of a wide variety of objects, materials and environments. Those images are rich and often unique sources of information about the scanned samples, particularly in relation to the structure of and boundaries between different material types.

The technique is based around the attenuation of X-rays as they interact with the constituent components of a sample. A series of radiographs (similar to such taken by a doctor to diagnose a broken limb) are recorded at a series of angular positions over 360º and are subsequently reconstructed using mathematical algorithms to give three dimensional volumetric data. This data can be visualised collectively or in virtual cross sections (slice by slice nature) giving high resolution spatial maps of X-ray attenuation relating to material density of the sample.



Our Micro-CT Facilities


The Hounsfield Facility

The University of Nottingham is proudly home to the Hounsfield Facility, a world leading multidisciplinary initiative that houses a suite of ‘state-of-the-art’, 3D, non-destructive microCT (X-ray) technologies with automated robotics. With vastly experienced personnel and bespoke innovative image analysis techniques the facility is a centre of excellence for the exploration and quantification of the internal architecture of biomaterials and research support into environmental sustainability and global food security.

With core expertise in biosicences, the facility has additional interest, capabilities and background working within numerous other disciplines as showcased in it's e-leaflet, viewable here.

The three primary XR-CT instruments at the facility are detailed below, but for much more information about the centre and it's technical infrastructure visit their webpage by clicking here or on the individual instruments below.


XR-CT Facilities at the Hounsfield Facility



 v|tome|x M

 v|tome| x L

Spatial Resolution

<1µm to 35µm

5µm to 150µm


Sample Size

~150 x 70 x 70mm

~400 x 300 x 300mm

 ~1000 x 250 x 250mm

X-ray Energy

up to 180kV 

up to 240kV 

up to 320kV


5Mpixel CMOS

 Flat panel detector

 Flat panel detector





Interface and Surface Analysis Centre (ISAC)