After a first-year ramp-up for testing and tuning components, COSMIC is now operating at the ALS. The beamline brings together unique capabilities to measure the properties of materials at the nanoscale, and scientific results from its earliest experiments are expected to be published later this year. Read more »
ALS Work Using Tomography
Tomography allows 3D imaging of structures inside samples without the need to physically slice them open. A series of images is collected as a sample is rotated, and the raw data is computationally converted into digital sections that can be stacked to reconstruct 3D visualizations of the sample. The very high flux of x-rays and infrared light at the ALS allows collection of high-quality, high-speed 3D images at nanometer or micrometer resolution. Synchrotron tomography also enables photon-energy tuning for element- and chemistry-specific contrast, as well as phase-contrast imaging.
TE Connectivity used ALS microtomography capabilities to optimize the material and manufacturing parameters of their conductive plastics to impart good electrical conductivity. Conductive plastics with good electrical properties offer processing and cost benefits over metal alternatives, with applications ranging from automotive to data communications. Read more »
Parrotfish chew on coral, producing hundreds of pounds of sand each year. Mapping the microstructure of parrotfish teeth, scientists found bundles of crystals interwoven like chain mail. The results provide a blueprint for creating ultra-durable materials for mechanical components that undergo repetitive contact, movement, and abrasion. Read more »
A parrotfish’s hardy teeth allow it to chomp on coral all day long, ultimately grinding it up through digestion into fine sand. Researchers wanting to see how the fine crystal structure of parrotfish teeth contribute to their incredible strength were able to visualize the orientation of individual crystals, which showed their intricately woven structure. Read more »
A specialized type of hydrogen fuel cell requires precise temperature and moisture controls to be at its best. But seeing inside a working fuel cell at the tiny scales relevant to a fuel cell’s chemistry and physics is challenging, so scientists used x-ray-based imaging techniques to study their inner workings. Read more »
Accurate assessment of the suitability of subsurface rock formations for CO2 containment requires a good understanding of fracture evolution. Researchers combined x-ray microtomography with advanced computer simulations to improve models of fracture development in carbonate-rich shale samples.
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Global food and beverage giant PepsiCo has been using ALS tomography beamline 8.3.2 to understand more about the chemical structure and behavior of their starch-based snack foods, with the goal of creating a whole new category of snacks that consumers cook at home in their own microwaves.
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In situ electrical conductivity and x-ray tomography experiments were conducted on a conductive polymer composite containing polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) copolymer, copper (Cu), and tin (Sn) during thermal annealing. This study provides detailed insight into the morphological origins of the beneficial effect of thermal annealing on the electrical properties of conductive composites containing low melting metal fillers. Read more »
Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker, has been using the tomography capabilities at the ALS to image their microelectronic packages in 3D at high resolution with short throughput time, providing valuable information for both failure analysis and product development and proving that synchrotrons are an insightful tool for this type of imaging.
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Some rocks can float on water for years at a time before eventually sinking. X-ray microtomography studies help explain how by scanning samples of lightweight, glassy, and porous volcanic rocks known as pumice stones. Their surprisingly long-lived buoyancy can help scientists discover underwater volcano eruptions. Read more »