Myoanatomy of the velvet worm leg revealed by laboratory-based nanofocus X-ray source tomography

Research Highlight

New imaging technique gets safely to the heart of the matter

© up close with nature/Moment Open/Getty

© up close with nature/Moment Open/Getty

A new lab-based computed tomography (CT) technique enables scientists to produce high-resolution images of the surface and interior of samples without using a particle accelerator. The non-destructive technique will be useful for studying rare samples or other materials that might be damaged by extensive preparation. 

A team led by researchers at the Technical University of Munich developed an X-ray source that produces a highly focused beam without using X-ray optics. They combined this with a low-noise, single-photon detector to create the new imaging device, called nano-CT.

With nano-CT, the interior and exterior of samples can be scanned to produce 3D data at a resolution of 100 nanometres. While existing techniques achieve a similar resolution, they require more sample preparation and can only image the surface or the interior of a sample, not both. Nano-CT images of the legs of velvet worms revealed unknown muscular features, demonstrating the technique’s value.


Supported content

  1. PNAS 114, 12378-12383 (2017). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710742114
Institutions Share
TUM Munich School of Bioengineering (MSB), Germany 0.38
TUM Department of Physics, Germany 0.32
Department of Zoology, University of Kassel, Germany 0.17
Departamento de Zoologia, UFMG, Brazil 0.03
Institute of Materials Research, HZG, Germany 0.03
Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology with Phyletic Museum, FSU, Germany 0.03
TUM Institut für Diagnostische und Interventionelle Radiologie, Germany 0.02
TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS), Germany 0.02