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X-ray computed tomography in practice I: application of µCT to investigate materials (2024)

ECTS credits:


Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: Winter 2024
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 40 (5x8 hours) / 75 (total, including reading material, conducting project and writing report)
Capacity limits: 6 participants

Objectives of the course:

This graduate course is for PhD students, and other researchers if space permits, who wish to use laboratory-based X-ray micro-computed tomography (µCT) in their research.

The course provides the student with an introduction to the basics of X-ray CT followed by experimental exercises composed of user training on the X-ray microscope Zeiss Xradia 620 Versa. Furthermore, simple tools for data analysis will be introduced, including computer exercises on the use of these tools for quantification and visualization of CT data. Data from CT measurements of bone, as an example of a material structured over several length scales, will be supplied for these exercises. Finally, each student will have a project day with an expert user to work on their own sample. The resulting data should be visualized and analyzed, and the project described in a report for assessment of the student’s learning outcome.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • describe the basics of X-ray CT, including experimental concepts and the idea behind filtered back projection for image reconstruction
  • conduct a simple X-ray CT experiment
  • analyze CT data in terms of simple quantification and visualization
  • describe/consider how to apply X-ray CT within his/her own research


Compulsory programme:
Participation in all course components, including lectures, experimental, and computer exercises.


Course contents:
Below is a preliminary outline of the course, subject to changes:

  • 1 day of lectures and tour of the AXIA facility (axia.au.dk)
  • 1 day experimental exercises with the X-ray microscope Zeiss Xradia 620 Versa
  • 2 days computer exercises
  • 1 individual project day with an expert user


Bachelor degree or similar within natural science, technology, or medicine


Name of lecturers:
Nina Kølln Wittig and Henrik Birkedal


Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, experimental exercises, computer exercises


Withers et al., X-ray computed tomography, Nat Rev Methods Primers 1 (17), 2021 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s43586-021-00020-7)

S. R. Stock, MicroComputed Tomography Methodology and Applications, CRC Press


Course homepage:


Course assesment:
Report describing the student’s individual project, including (1) introduction of the research questions and how X-ray µCT is expected to enable answering these, (2) description of the experiment and analysis flow including important considerations underway, (3) presentation of the obtained results, and (4) discussion thereof including perspectives on how µCT can contribute to the student’s overall research. The report will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.


iNANO, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
Note that despite being a powerful technique enabling non-destructive 3D analyses of a broad range of samples, the implementation of X-ray µCT is very sample- and research question-dependent. Please consider the following general guidelines before start of the course:

  • The resolution that one can expect is ~sample diameter/500 in fast scanning mode (a few hours) and ~sample diameter/1000 in slow scanning mode (up to 24 hours). The best possible resolution that can be obtained with the instrument used in the course is 500 nm (and this is only for samples that are optimal both in terms of composition and size/shape). Features smaller than a couple of micrometers can thus not be resolved with this setup.
  • The image contrast stems from differences in material densities. Features can thus only be distinguished if they are composed of materials of different electron densities.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Nina Kølln Wittig (e-mail: nkw@inano.au.dk) to discuss these considerations.


8-12 January 2024 + an individual project day later in January.


iNANO, Aarhus University


Deadline for registration is 18 December 2023 and is open for researchers from all Danish research institutions. Please note that the maximum number of participants is limited. Therefore, preference is given to PhD students, and specifically to students who need the instrumentation in their research. Other than that, participants are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. However, if registration has closed due to oversubscription, please send an email to nkw@inano.au.dk expressing your interest. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 20 December 2023.

For registration, sign up here: https://events.au.dk/tomography2023/signup

If you have any questions, please contact Nina Kølln Wittig, e-mail: nkw@inano.au.dk

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