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The heart of the NHM 3D-Lab within the Central Research Laboratories of the NHMW is a modern high-performance micro-CT. The instrument, an Yxlon FF35 CT, is equipped with a large area, high sensitivity flat panel detector. It features two x-ray sources: a microfocus directional beam tube (up to 225 kV and 280 W on target) and a nanofocus transmission tube (up to 190 kV and 15 W on target). This dual tube configuration enables scans of a wide range of objects and optimization for materials of both low and high density. The voluminous chamber allows scans of objects measuring up to 50 cm in diameter and 60 cm in height. The system complies with modern industrial standards and offers a climate-controlled chamber as well as collision protection which benefits both the safety of the samples and the instrument. The micro-CT and the associated infrastructure allow non-destructive analyses of objects ranging from museum specimens to research samples such as biological specimens, archaeological artefacts, rock samples and much more.
Apart from the micro-CT the NHMW 3D-Lab maintains two 3D printers (Raise 3D Pro2 Plus, Elegoo Mars Pro) and two 3D scanner (Artec Space Spider, Artec Leo, the second from Jan. 2021 onwards). The 3D scanners allow acquisition of high-quality surface scan in full colour. The generated texture maps can also be combined with the micro-CT data in order to record the visual appearance of the CT-scanned specimen. The 3D printers offer the possibility to print digital models up to a size of 30x30x60 cm (FDM printer) and down to a resolution of 50 µm (LCD-DLP resin printer). This is particularly useful for educational and outreach activities, as well as during specimen restauration and exhibition design.
The NHMW 3D-lab is an infrastructure funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency – FFG (funded in the frame of the 2nd R&D Infrastructure call 2018, Project 870530 „Unlocking the Microcosm – Micro-CT Analyses in Museum Collections“).
Viola Winkler, MSc (Operator für Mikroanalytik)
Non-destructive, high resolution computer tomography (voxel sizes down to 1 µm can be achieved depending on specimen size) of specimens from life and earth sciences, as well as cultural history objects such as archaeological artefacts; preparation of 3D models for visualization in research or outreach activities and generation of data for 3D printing
Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure
High resolution scans of various materials, predominantly life and earth science specimens as well as archaeological artefacts; custom sample preparation and custom scan parameters for research and museum objects