University of Manchester


MXIF researchers are active in a wide range of fields and collaborate with a large number of industrial and academic users from around the world. Examples of some of our most recent research are shown below.
poppy seed
November 2016: Shelley Rawson - This image shows a reconstructed 3D volume of the poppy seed and the right image is a cut view of the reconstruction. Structures of the seed anatomy can be seen; including the seed coat (brown), cotyledon (pink) hypocotyl and plumule (both green).
calcium carbonate crystals
September 2016: Jose Godinho - This image shows CaCO3 single crystals tens of microns diameter growing in a network of nanopores (7 nm diameter). The work aims to understand the effect of confinement on how crystals grow, which is used by animals to control the crystal structure and shape of shells. The work is part of a collaboration with Prof. Fiona Meldrum and C. Andruix (University of Leeds).
Jules Rimet trophy
July 2016: Julia Behnsen - To mark the 50th anniversary of England winning the World Cup in 1966 we conducted a structural and elemental analysis of the Jules Rimet trophy. There were strong signals for tin and lead, suggesting that this is the replica trophy made in secret when the original was stolen. This work is conducted in collaboration with the National Football Museum.
IR heaters
June 2016: Tristan Lowe - showing the facility's newest in-situ rigs in action. This is an infra-red heater which can be used to heat samples whilst they are being imaged.
3D visualisation
May 2016: We use specialist software package Drishti Prayog to enable our work to become fully interactive. The facility has a touchscreen kiosk which is shown to school children allowing them to explore objects scanned using XCT. Through this visualisation tool they are able to gain a fuller appreciation of the power of using X-rays in research to understand materials.
Zimbabwe core sample.
April 2016: Chris Egan - 3D visualisation of a geological core sample from a hydrothermal vein from the Leopard Mine, Silobela, Zimbabwe. Part of the ~2.6 billion year old Greenstone-hosted auriferous mineralisation in the Zimbabwe craton. The sample comprises pyrite (FeS2), quartz (SiO2), gold (Au) and minor amounts of galena (PbS), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) and bornite (Cu5FeS4). This work is conducted in collaboration with Prof. Richard Pattrick (University of Manchester).
Fruit fly brain.
March 2016: Tom Slater - Volume rendering of the brain of a fruit fly (Drosophila). XCT can be used to map neuronal networks at high-resolution in order to better understand how the brain is connected. Non-destructive imaging is particularly important in looking for particular regions of the brain to subsequently study via destructive techniques such as electron microscopy. This work is conducted in collaboration with Dr Julian Ng (University of Cambridge).
Tenebrio Molitor beetle.
February 2016: Rebecca Hartwell - Reconstructed 3D image of an X-Ray Computed Tomography (XCT) scan of a Tenebrio Molitor beetle. The image displays details of beetle anatomy: antennae, head, thorax, femur, legs, tibia, claws, hindwings and wing casing. These data were collected to investigate the wing casing that protects the beetle's hindwings, due to its specially adapted high-strength yet lightweight hierarchical microstructure.
Unidentified mummified bird
January 2016: Lidija McKnight - The importance of radiography as a non-invasive study method is paramount and provides museums with an insight into their material without the need to destroy the artefact. Imaging has been used to identify the nature of the contents of small ancient Egyptian mummified bundles - species, minimum number of individuals, post-mortem alterations to the cadaver, mummification treatments (evisceration/excerebration), wrapping methods and decorative accoutrements.
Showing the three components of a composite
December 2015: Bo Yu - Showing the three mutually perpendicular orthoslices of a 3D woven glass-fibre reinforced composite, with binder yarns, weft yarns and resin being colour washed in yellow, green and blue. This was done by an innovative algorithm, which was developed to enable an automatic segmentation of yarns according to the orientation of their texture
fatigue damage
December 2015: Bo Yu - The 3D volume rendering of fatigue damage in the same composite after loading to 60,000 cycles. Different types of cracks are classified in terms of their different locations, namely transverse resin cracks, transverse cracks within weft yarns, debonds at the binder/binder interface, debonds at the weft/binder interface, debonds at the binder/resin interface and debonds at the weft/resin interface