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The µ -VIS centre

The μ-VIS Centre incorporates five advanced X-ray computed tomography (CT) systems, with the flagship scanner based in engineering representing one of the largest and highest energy CT systems in the UK at present. It is used to produce high resolution 3D images of the internal structure of objects. Materials that have been scanned by μ-VIS range from aircraft wings to fossils.

The University has invested over £2m in the newly launched μ-VIS high resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT) facilities. The world class facility offers state-of-the-art equipment and brings together teams of engineers and scientists that have immediate need of CT imaging, with world-leading experts in high performance computing and the art of image processing.

The benefits offered by CT imaging:
The facilities at μ-VIS have the ability to visualise comprehensively inaccessible and/or opaque materials and structures in 3D. Their high resolution capabilities are essentially non-destructive which means that objects which either cannot be dismantled or are too fragile to take apart can be examined in great detail. The 3D characterisation produced is valuable for subsequent modelling.


Custom 225kV Nikon/Metris HMX ST

    • three configurations

      • transmission (~1µm spot limit, low flux)
      • standard reflection (~3µm spot, 'normal' flux)
      • rotating target (~10µm spot limit, x3-5 flux)
    • 2 x 2k flat panel detector
    • samples to ~300mm and 50kg
    • robotic sample exchange (~150mm height limit)


225kV/450kV hutch: Nikon/Metris custom design

  • 20-225kV and 100-450kV sources
  • resolutions: ~3µm at low kV, 50µm at 450kV
  • panel and line detectors
  • panel shift system
  • 1x1x1.5m imaging volume
  • 100kg rating
  • temperature controlled
  • large user labyrinth

160kV benchtop: Nikon/Metrix CT 160 Xi

  • reflection source, ~3μm spot size limit
  • 1248x1248 flat panel detector
  • samples to ~90mm diameter, 5kg

Gatan XuM/Zeiss Evo MA25 (LaB6 SEM hosted)

  • optimised for 4-12kV operation
  • selection of targets (bulk and thin), ~200nm resolution capabilities
  • phase enhanced contrast
  • 1340x1300 camera
  • samples 1-2mm and below

SkyScan1176 in vivo CT

  • small animal pre-clinical research
  • 100kV reflection source
  • 11MP camera
  • 9μm in vivo spatial resolutions achievable
  • integrated physiological monitoring
  • bone morphometry tools

Computational facilities

  • GPU-enabled back projection and arithmetic reconstruction packages
  • nVidia Tesla GPU system
  • high performance workstations for image processing and visualisation
  • software packages include:
    • VG Studio Max
    • VSG Avizo
    • IDL
    • Simpleware (ScanIP, ScanFE, ScanCAD)
    • Digisens DigiCT


µ-VIS offers a range of services to external institutions (academic and industrial) such as:

  • production of images
  • image analysis (sample visualisation and measurement)
  • defect detection
  • actual-nominal comparison
  • assembly analysis
  • FE model generation (meshing)
  • extraction of STL models
  • research collaboration







Eustice Building
School of Engineering Sciences
Highfield Campus
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

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