A microCT scannner works by taking hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of x-ray images of an object as it rotates. Areas of the object that block more of the X-rays show up as darker areas of the images. A computer then uses these images to reconstruct a 3-dimensional digital model.

The microCT scanner at the Australian Museum Research Institute is used to examine objects from the collections without damaging them. A big advantage of microCT scanning is that we can see 'inside' objects without dissecting them or breaking them open, which leaves our precious specimens intact and preserved for future research. The resulting digital files can be shared with other scientists and institutions allowing broader and more specialised study of our collections.

How does a microCT scanner work?

MicroCT scanned objects

Interactive 3D model of White's Seahorse

Hippocampus whitei is common in Sydney Harbour. This scan is of a larval specimen that measures 1.2 cm tip to tail.

Interactive 3D model of a Christmas Beetle

This microCT scan of a Christmas Beetle shows the internal cavities where organs would be. This demonstrates the capability of microCT scanning to see the internal structures of specimens without cutting them open.

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