Spectral X-ray computed micro tomography: 3-dimensional chemical imaging

Jonathan Sittner, Jose R. A. Godinho, Axel D. Renno, Veerle Cnudde, Marijn Boone, Thomas De Schryver, Denis Van Loo, Margarita Merkulova, Antti Roine, Jussi Liipo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We present a new approach to 3-dimensional chemical imaging based on X-ray computed micro tomography (CT), which enables the analysis of the internal elemental chemistry. The method uses a conventional laboratory-based CT scanner equipped with a semiconductor detector (CdTe). Based on the X-ray absorption spectra, elements in a sample can be distinguished by their specific K-edge energy. The capabilities and performance of this new approach are illustrated with different experiments, i.e. single pure element particle measurements, element differentiation in mixtures, and mineral differentiation in a natural rock sample. The results show that the method can distinguish elements with K-edges in the range of 20 to 160 keV, this corresponds to an element range from Ag to U. Furthermore, the spectral information allows a distinction between materials, which show little variation in contrast in the reconstructed CT image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-105
Number of pages14
JournalX-Ray Spectrometry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • 3D imaging
  • CT
  • mineral classification
  • photon-counting detector
  • spectral X-ray tomography


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