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3D X-ray histology facility

More Information

About the 3D X-ray histology facility

Our 3D X-ray histology (XRH) facility is a collaboration between the µ-VIS X-ray Imaging Centre and the Biomedical Imaging Unit and funded by Wellcome Trust.

We provide micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging of soft-tissue samples integrated with a workflow which includes reliable sample traceability, correlative imaging visualisation, data sharing and reporting, and automatic metadata parsing. 

Advantages of XRH

Micro-CT has several advantages over traditional histology:

  • ability to visualise and quantify microstructure soft tissue in its 3D context
  • non-destructive and can be combined with specific 2D histology techniques, including histochemistry, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridisation
  • ability to image archival material stored in hospitals and tissue banks to allow validation of microstructural hallmarks of disease
  • coupled with artificial intelligence/computer-aided diagnosis it improves diagnostic accuracy and support patient stratification.

Our services

We welcome collaboration proposals from scientists who want to explore and discover the potential of XRH for their research portfolio. Our services include:

  • production of XRH images
  • image analysis  involving sample visualisation and measurement
  • correlative imaging, combining XRH with conventional histology, immunohistochemistry, and/or other microscopy techniques such as serial block face SEM)
  • bespoke analysis, such as, image based model generation (meshing) for FE/CFD modelling or 3D printing

Part of: µ-VIS X-ray Imaging Centre

Technical specification

MILabs U-CT 3D/4D optical imaging and microCT system

This scanner can scan living organisms up to the size of a small rabbit (up to five mice can be scanned at once). It features:

  • correlative imaging to map fluorescence/luminescence images onto X-ray CT images and white light images
  • data manipulation via MiLabs software and/or third party software.
  • µCT modality involving spatial resolution down to c. 13 μm, 3D fluorescence, bioluminescence and Cherenkov luminescence tomography
  • Optical system involving resolution of c. 3 mm, visual to near-IR range (340 nm to 830 nm, up to six emission filters and up to 11 excitation filters and a C-MOS detector

Nikon Med-X (alpha)

This was designed as a soft tissue imaging research tool for biology and medicine.

  • 130 kVp X-Ray source
  • optimised for biomedical imaging & unstained FFPE histological specimens
  • standard reflection target (~2 µm spot)
  • 2 x 2k flat panel detector
  • standard cone-beam & helical scanning
  • samples up to ~300 mm and up to 15 kg

Nikon XTH225ST XRH 3D X-ray histology scanner

This can be used for non-destructive radiographical and tomographical inspection of biomedically relevant specimens, and is optimised for high-throughput imaging of unstained formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) soft tissue specimens.

  • Nikon multi-target micro focus X-ray source
  • 130 kVp / 130 W Mo rotating target (custom)  
  • 10 μm spot up to 50 W
  • 180 kVp / 20 W Mo transmission targets (custom) 
  • 1.5 μm spot up to 5 W
  • 225 kVp / 225 W multimetal reflection target
  • 2.5 μm spot up to 7 W
  • sample autoloader | up to 10 specimens per rack (custom) 
  • optimised for high throughput 3D X-ray Histology
  • 2.8 x 2.8 k 16-bit flat panel detector
  • standard cone-beam & helical scanning
  • samples up to ~400 mm and up to 50 kg

SkyScan 1176 in-vivo CT scanner

This scanner allows full body mouse and rat scanning or distal limb scanning for larger animals, such as rabbits. It also provides scanning flexibility to allow imaging of a wide range of samples from lung tissue to bone with titanium implants.

  • small animal pre-clinical research
  • 100 kVp reflection source
  • 11MP camera
  • 9µm in vivo spatial resolutions achievable
  • integrated physiological monitoring
  • bone morphometry tools / 2D & 3D quantitative analysis / 3D visualization

Contact us

Contact us

For more information or to book our 3D X-ray histology facility, get in touch.
Biomedical Imaging Unit, Laboratory and Pathology Block, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD.,