Teach the Earth > Petrology > Analytical Geochemical Instrument Registry > Browse Geochemical Instruments > CT scanner

Digital Imaging Facility

Amherst College

Contact Information

Whitey Hagadorn

(413) 542 - 2714




Instrument Type

CT-Scanner: Microfocus X-ray computed tomograph

Skyscan 1172


Surface analysis Micro-imaging

Typical Use:

This instrument is used to visualize and quantify the internal structure of rocks. It can be used to characterize the morphology of minerals, voids, fossils, etc. within a sample, and together with volume rendering facilities in the lab, model their spatial relationships and properties.

Unlike most CT-scanners, we have the ability to recognize relatively small objects with high fidelity, our highest resolution scans have voxel sizes of 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 microns. This is ideal for examining mixed mineral assemblages in heterolithic rocks. It can also be used for fossils, sed rocks, and modern biological materials.

Conditions for Use:

  • Submitted samples will be analyzed on a contract basis (i.e. lab personnel will do the work)
  • Visitors are invited to work in the lab to work with lab personnel
  • Visitors are invited to work in the lab to design and do the work yourself
  • Training Session (short course) is offered

User Fees:

The facility is available to users at no charge, pending availability. Please see lab web page for details.

Instrument Priorities:

Any of the above are welcome.

Remote Use:


Sample Preparation:

No sample preparation is required, but the instrument can only fit samples less than 7 cm in diameter through its scan shield. Taller samples are possible, but scan times take longer. The _IDEAL_ shaped samples to scan are cylinders, akin to small rock cores. Odd-shaped objects can be wedged to approximate a cylinder and facilitate better scan results. Materials for wedging are available in the Hagadorn lab.

Standard Collections/Lab Blanks:



All software needed to process and render scan data (e.g., Amira, VoxBlast, VG Studio Max, NRecon) are available in house, together with 5 Tb of storage and an FTP site.

Educational Use:

  • Undergraduate student research projects are invited
  • Graduate student research projects are invited

Support provided by:

NSF EAR-0236775, NSF CNS-0521169, Trustees of Amherst College

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