The GeoTek ScoutXcan X-Ray Imaging Scanner takes several 2D radiographic images under different angles. This technique allows the computer software to build a pseudo-3D laminographic image of a (core) sample, similar in fashion to a full-3D CT or CAT tomographic image. The ScoutXcan at BOSCORF is one of only two instruments in the UK specially dedicated to scientific analyses and accessible by researcher world-wide.
Major benefits of analysing samples with the X-Ray Imaging Scanner:
- Rapid results – in approximately 10 minutes a core samples is imaged.
- Several viewpoints – the pseudo 3D laminograph allows to slice the sample in different depth layers.
- Resolution – compared to other X-ray imaging machines the ScoutXcan delivers much greater visually resolved images.
- Non destructive – data collected can be used for precise targeting of (destructive) sampling.
Only two ScoutXcan X-ray imaging scanners are currently operational in the UK for scientific research purposes. This machine is the state-of-the art in core non-destructive description.
Samples and methods
The X-ray imaging scanner is primarily designed for sediment core samples. In addition, rock, coral, and even discrete samples can be analysed by the X-Ray Imaging Scanner.
Samples successfully run on the X-Ray Imaging Scanner:
- Marine and terrestrial sediment cores
- Rock cores and samples
- Fossilised bones
- Other discrete samples
No specific sample preparation is needed prior to imaging with the X-Ray Imaging Scanner. Whole round and split half round core samples can be scanned. The X-Ray Imaging Scanner holds core samples between two adjustable arms. Other samples, that cannot be fixed between the moving arms, will placed in a X-ray transparent tray.
Maximum sample dimensions:
- Whole-round samples: 14cm diameter × 150cm in length.
- Half-round samples and discrete samples: 13cm diameter × 150cm in length.
The sample is placed between the two moveable arms and then fed through the X-ray imaging area in the middle of the machine a strong source sends X-rays through the sample to the detector, positioned at the bottom of the instrument. The arms can rotate around their axes so that multiple 2D radiographs can be taken. The computer software combines these images into a pseudo-3D laminograph.
Data and applications
The laminograph exemplifies the enhanced imaging the X-Ray Imaging Scanner allows, compared to a standard radiograph in the middle. Much more detailed density contrasts can be seen. Detailed core descriptions can be based on these images. Furthermore, sampling can be targeted more precisely when specific features of interest are identified.
X-ray laminographic imaging has many scientific applications:
- Sedimentological descriptions, such as changes in grainsize, finding evidence for bioturbation, image laminations or varved sediments.
- Identification of bed provenance, for examples layers with volcanic ash, ice-rafted debris, and other event stratigraphies.
- Sclerochronological descriptions of corals or fossilised shells.