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Spotlight On: µ-VIS

Each month we post a new edition to the SES ‘Spotlight On…’ series, showcasing equipment at our institutions, providing information and case studies for interested researchers/industries, and promoting better use of already available equipment.

The high resolution X-ray computed tomography lab (µ-VIS) constitutes a strategic multimillion pound investment (>£5M) in high resolution computed tomography, offering a unique user experience for advanced 3D X-ray imaging.

The centre specifically aims to provide a holistic approach to advanced 3D (volume) imaging, supporting all steps between original domain problem/query, through to verified, publishable conclusions.

The centre encompasses seven complementary scanning systems supporting a wide range of sample sizes with imaged volumes up to 1.5 x 1 x 1m, and spatial resolutions down to approximately 200 nm.µ-VIS welcomes collaborations and offers a range of services to external academic and industrial institutions.

The centre can support research and Research and Technical Development (RTD) projects in a variety of disciplines such as materials science, biomedical imaging, electronics, palaeontology/archaeology and earth and environmental science.

Services are provide on a range charging models, from exploratory low cost investigations, to full fEC for more complete research programmes.

The access, support and training of visiting researcher has been better than any other X-ray imaging facility we have visited

– Kristofer Gamstedt, PhD Professor, Head of Division, Department of Engineering Sciences, Division of Applied Mechancis, University of Uppsala

Much of the work on developing Micro CT in the UK has been completed by Prof Ian Sinclair’s group at Southampton, and they have an established track record in producing high quality output

Dr Owen Arthurs, CL GOS ICH (Read about his research here)

Name of Equipment

µ-VIS, high resolution X-ray computed tomography lab

Current High-level Research:

  • Archaeology: Revealing archaeological coins using high energy X-ray penetration capabilities (right, top)
  • Biomedical Sciences: Novel 3D insights into lung diseases using computed tomography optimised for soft tissue contrast
  • Engineering / Additive manufacturing: Inspection of components manufactured by additive manufacturing using length-preserving 3D computed tomography
  • Engineering / Materials Science: Analysis of aerospace composites using multi-scale computed tomography (right, center)
  • Environmental Sciences: Reading the fossil record of plankton using computed tomography at high spatial resolutions
  • Life Sciences: Tracking soil deformation around growing plant roots using longitudinal computed tomography
  • Palaentology: Unveiling the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur using computed tomography for very large objects (right, bottom)

For full case studies and further examples, please visit the µ-VIS website.


Who has access?

Industry & academia

Is there preferential access given to a particular type of researcher? E.g. Based on institution, field of research


Does it require an on-site visit to use the facility/equipment?


Are there costs associated/fees?

Scanning projects will be costed in close consultation with the client due to the often-complex nature of each project.

Can it be bought as a service with access to a team of experts?

The centre always provides a service with expert operators and assistance in experimental design and data analysis.

Technical Details

Scanner selection depends on the specimen’s size, material properties such as the density or atomic number of constituent elements, any imposed scan time limitations, as well as the required resolution – for further extensive details, please see the the facility’s equipment page.

Potential relevant disciplines

Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Heritage

Further information


Applications can be made online.


Profile picture - Philipp Schneider

Dr Philipp Schneider

Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton.

Profile picture - Mark Noel Mavrogordato

Mark Noel Mavrogordato

Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton.