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Universiteit Gent (UGent)


Ghent University hosts the Core Facility Centre for X-ray Tomography (UGCT). UGCT is operated by a multi-disciplinary team and is currently an inter-faculty collaboration between three research groups: the Radiation Physics group, the Pore-Scale Processes in Geomaterials Research group (PProGRess) and the Laboratory for Wood Technology.

Centre for X-Ray Tomography (UGCT)

The UGCT infrastructure provides access to six dedicated high-resolution X-ray tomography systems, each with specific complementary design parameters. With an interdisciplinary team of researchers, the developed systems are primarily used for (4D) in-situ geological and wood technology research.

Equipment UGCT


UGCT provides access to four different micro-CT scanners.

The High-Energy CT system Optimized for Research, or HECTOR, is the workhorse of our systems. It is equipped with a 240 kV X-ray tube from X-RAY WorX, a Varex XRD 4343 flat-panel detector and a rotation stage able to carry samples up to 80 kg. Mounted on a total of 5 motorized linear stages, this system covers a very wide range of samples with a best achievable spatial resolution of approximately 3 µm.

The Environmental Micro-CT (EMCT) is specialized for fast dynamic high-resolution scanning and in-situ monitoring. The horizontal gantry setup allows for various add-on modules, such as flow cells, pressure stages, and temperature stages to be added without limitations.

CoreTOM (μ-CT)
Optimized for multi-scale 3D and high temporal resolution 4D imaging from core samples down to pore samples. Capable of Volume-of-Interest Scanning (VOIS), scanning up to 1 m tall cores, fast scanning and high sample throughput in-situ integration option, dynamic µ-CT acquisition with temporal resolutions < 10 s and, software options for dynamic acquisition, reconstruction and visualization.

Herakles (µ-CT + µ-XRF)
The combined µ-CT – µ-XRF system Herakles combines three scanning stages for extensive sample characterization. One high-resolution CT stage is complemented with two µ-XRF stages, where the three stages are linked by an innovative air-bearing positioning system that offers a sub-micron accuracy over the complete setup necessary for the image correlation. Voltages between 20 and 100 kV can be applied, with a maximum target power of 10 W when using a microfocus spot. The smallest achievable spot size is 700 nm, as specified by the manufacturer and the voxel size during typical scans on real-life samples is around 1 μm.

The UGCT laboratory also provides access to two different in-house built very high resolution nano-CT scanners.

Medusa (n-CT)
A very high-resolution CT scanner equipped with a Photonic Science VHR detector and a large-area flat panel detector to allow for analysis of both low-density and high-density objects. Both detectors are mounted on a motorized linear stage for easy and fast switching and high accuracy, with a long propagation distance with a resolution of ~0.9 μm.

Nanowood (n-CT)
This versatile multi-resolution X-ray tomography scanner is equipped with two separate X-ray tubes and two different X-ray detectors to allow for optimal scanning conditions for a very wide range of samples. The open-type Hamamatsu transmission tube is used for very high-resolution CT scans, where a resolution of approximately 0.9 µm can be achieved (given very small samples), whereas the closed-type Hamamatsu directional tube head is used for larger samples. On the detector side, an 11-megapixel Photonic Science VHR CCD camera with a pixel size of approximately 7² µm² is complemented with a large-area Varian flat-panel detector.


(Multiphase) fluid flow experiments:
Fluid flow in rock samples is driving research in both academia and industry to understand the subsurface distribution and potential leakage of fluids as well as chemical reactions altering the subsurface. UGCT is highly experienced in conducting and assisting fluid flow experiments, which are imaged to resolve the pore space of geomaterials and the interplay between fluids and the rock sample itself.
Weathering of (natural) material:
Building materials (cement, mortar, acoustic isolators, but also natural building stones) weather due to the interplay of ambient conditions, pore-filling fluids and the material itself. To understand these weathering processes, experiments are conducted in the lab according to international standards, which are complemented by a detailed investigation using µ-CT to understand microscopic changes in the fabric of the material due to weathering. UGCT specializes – among others – in performing these experiments in controlled conditions on the micro-CT scanners to understand the pore-scale processes leading to the weathering of the materials.
Geo-mechanical testing:
UGCT can perform miniature uniaxial- and triaxial compressive experiments, as well as uniaxial tensile tests, while imaging the sample at in-situ stress-strain conditions. These experiments are complementary to standard lab tests and provide insight into the deformation of materials at in-situ conditions.

Processing and data acquisition software

Octopus, Panthera, VGStudioMax, Avizo, and Dragonfly.

Additionally, µ-CT add-on modules are available for direct observations of fluid flow and weathering experiments. Add-on modules can be made available after an initial discussion with the beamline scientist before submission of the proposal. Add-on modules are available for fluid flow experiments under low confining stresses (max. 30 bar) and without temperature control. Both the fluid flow cell and the pumps can be made available upon request. Also, a Deben CT5000 in-situ compression and tensile cell is available, as well as a custom-made freezing cell.

Sample preparation

No sample preparation is provided at UGent. Samples must be prepared by the user according to the facility specifications.

Science team

Prof. Dr. Veerle Cnudde (Main contact, UGCT)
Dr. Laurenz Schröer (X-ray specialist & Facility Manager)
Dr. Arjen Mascini (Industrial contact point)
Dr. Pierre Kibleur (Data specialist)

Curious to learn more?

Interested in gaining access to the EXCITE2 facilities? Please enter your email address and be one of the first to be informed when we open the first EXCITE2 call for proposals. Other questions? Contact us here.

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