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U of A Receives $700,000 NSF Grant to Purchase MicroCT Scanner

U of A Receives $700,000 NSF Grant to Purchase MicroCT Scanner

Above: The investigators of the grant include Claire Terhune, assistant professor of anthropology; George Sabo, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey; and Wenchao Zhou, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Other investigators include Haley O’Brien and Paul Gignac, both assistant professors at Oklahoma State University Center of Health Science’s department of anatomy and cell biology.


The U of A has been awarded a nearly $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a high-resolution, X-ray micro-computed tomography (microCT) scanner. The scanner to be purchased, an advanced Nikon imaging system, will allow three-dimensional, non-destructive study of a wide variety of materials, including biological and geological specimens, historical artifacts and engineering materials. The scanner will allow researchers to examine these materials in 3D down to the micro (≤ 0.1 mm) and nano-scales (< 0.001 mm).

The microstructures of natural and synthetic materials play critical roles in determining their functions and strengths. Yet documenting these minute relationships without destroying the specimens is often challenging. Modern microCT scanners are among the most effective technologies for capturing such data accurately, quickly and at a reasonable expense.

This microCT system will be operated and managed by the newly formed MicroCT Imaging Center for Research and Outreach (MICRO) and housed in the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the U of A. It will be available for research and outreach activities to scientists and students across Northwest Arkansas, central and eastern Oklahoma, southern Missouri and southeastern Kansas.

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