Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

07.11.2017

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles. Three-dimensional images of the inside of the object can be constructed based on several such measurements. Up until now, however, the technology reached its limits when it came to objects as small as the tiny, 0.4 millimeter long legs of the velvet worm (Onychophora).


Nano-CT images of a velvet worm leg. Left picture: Surface of the leg, right picture: A view inside the tissue with muscle fibers highlighted.

Müller, Pfeiffer / TUM / reproduced with permission from PNAS


The Nano-CT device can create 3D-X-ray images of very small objects, such as the tiny legs of velvet worms (pictured: Euperipatoides rowelli).

de Sena Oliveira / University of Kassel / reproduced with permission from PNAS

High-resolution images of this magnitude required radiation from particle accelerators, yet there are only a few dozen such facilities in Europe. Approaches suitable for the typical laboratory still had to struggle with low resolutions, or the samples investigated had to be made of certain materials and could not exceed a certain size. The reason was often the use of x-ray optics. Put simply, x-ray optics focus x-ray radiation similar to the way optical lenses focus light – but they also have several limitations.

High resolutions possible with new x-ray sources

... more about:
»Nano-CT »PNAS »TUM »arthropods »limbs »optics »physics »tiny

The TUM Nano-CT system is based on a newly developed x-ray source, which generates a particularly focused beam, without relying on x-ray optics. In combination with an extremely low-noise detector, the device produces images that approach the resolution possible with a scanning electron microscope, while also capturing structures under the surface of the object under investigation.

“Our system has decisive advantages compared to CTs using x-ray optics,” says TUM scientist Mark Müller, lead author of the PNAS article. “We can make tomographies of significantly larger samples and we are more flexible in terms of the materials that can be investigated.”

Insights into the evolution of the arthropod world

Exactly these properties were ideal for the team led by Prof. Georg Mayer, head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Kassel. The scientists investigate the evolutionary origin of arthropods, including for example insects, spiders and crustaceans. Their current research, however, focuses on velvet worms (onychophorans), which can be thought of as worms with legs and are closely related to arthropods. Some velvet worm species can grow to a length of up to 20 centimeters, while others do not exceed 1 centimeter. The exact zoological classification of these ancient animals is still a matter of controversy; presumably, they share a common ancestor with arthropods and tardigrades (water bears).

“In contrast to arthropods, onychophorans do not have segmented limbs, as is also the case with their presumed common fossil ancestors,” says Georg Mayer. “The investigation of the functional anatomy of the velvet worm's legs plays a key role in determining how the segmented limbs of the arthropods evolved.” The Nano-CT images make it possible to investigate the individual muscle strands of the velvet worm leg. The team from Kassel plans to publish detailed results in the next few months. But they are already convinced about one thing: The Nano-CT device has passed its first practical test.

Nano-CT: Future applications in medicine

Like so many other imaging instruments, the Nano-CT system was developed and installed at the Munich School of BioEngineering (MSB). This TUM interdisciplinary research center is Europe's thematically most comprehensive university facility for the intersection of medicine, engineering sciences and natural sciences. Our goal in the development of the Nano-CT system is not only to be able to investigate biological samples, such as the leg of the velvet worm,” says Franz Pfeiffer, TUM Professor for Biomedical Physics, Director of the MSB, and a Fellow at the TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS).

“In the future, this technology will also make biomedical investigations possible. Thus, for example, we will be able to examine tissue samples to clarify whether or not a tumor is malignant. A non-destructive and three-dimensional image of the tissue with a resolution like that of the Nano-CT can also provide new insights into the microscopic development of widespread illnesses such as cancer.”

Publication:

M. Müller, I. de Sena Oliveira, S. Allner, S. Ferstl, P. Bidola, K. Mechlem, A. Fehringer, L. Hehn, M. Dierolf, K. Achterhold, B. Gleich, J. U. Hammel, H. Jahn, G. Mayer, F. Pfeiffer. “Myoanatomy of the velvet worm leg revealed by laboratory-based nanofocus X-ray source tomography”. PNAS (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1710742114

Further Information:

Munich School of BioEngineering
http://www.bioengineering.tum.de/

Chair of Biomedical Physics
http://www.e17.ph.tum.de

TUM Institute for Advanced Study
https://www.ias.tum.de/

High-resolution images:
https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/1401200

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Franz Pfeiffer
Chair of Biomedical Physics and Munich School of BioEngineering
Technical University of Munich
Tel.: +49 (89) 289 12551
franz.pfeiffer@tum.de

Weitere Informationen:

Nano-CT-imaging video (3 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwtzPWdKWqY

Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München

Further reports about: Nano-CT PNAS TUM arthropods limbs optics physics tiny

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies
20.10.2017 | Naval Research Laboratory

nachricht Integrated lab-on-a-chip uses smartphone to quickly detect multiple pathogens
19.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

Im Focus: Support Free with “TwoCure” – Innovation in Resin-Based 3D Printing

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Rapid Shape GmbH are working together to further develop resin-based 3D printing. The new “TwoCure” process requires no support structures and is significantly more efficient and productive than conventional 3D printing techniques for plastic components. Experts from Fraunhofer ILT will be presenting the state-funded joint development that makes use of the interaction of light and cold in forming the components at formnext 2017 from November 14 to 17 in Frankfurt am Main.

Much like stereolithography, one of the best-known processes for printing 3D plastic components works using photolithographic light exposure that causes liquid...

Im Focus: Researchers develop chip-scale optical abacus

A team of researchers led by Prof. Wolfram Pernice from the Institute of Physics at Münster University has developed a miniature abacus on a microchip which calculates using light signals. With it they are paving the way to the development of new types of computer in which, as in the human brain, the computing and storage functions are combined in one element.

Researchers at the universities of Münster, Exeter and Oxford have developed a miniature “abacus” which can be used for calculating with light signals. With it...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

07.11.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

07.11.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

How Helicobacter pylori causes gastric cancer

07.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>