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XCT: Zeiss Xradia 520 Versa X-ray CT

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ZEISS Xradia 520 Versa x-ray microscope (XRM) allows a nondestructive view inside the object. An x-ray microscope uses x-ray radiation to produce magnified images of the objects under investigation. The unique feature of ZEISS Xradia XRM is that it combines geometric magnification together with optical magnification allowing to image larger samples as well as mounting in situ stages.

The x-ray microscope is also used for x-ray computed tomography (XCT) where a number of x-ray images are taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images/slices of the scanned object. The main advantages of ZEISS Xradia XRM are:

  • 3D Non-destructive imaging
  • Virtual Cross Section
  • Sub-surface interior tomography on opaque samples
  • Multi-scale
  • Quantitative analysis especially of anisotropic or non-uniform features
  • Measured microstructure as input for numerical modeling
  • In situ and 4D experiments
  • Complementary to other characterization modalities



Xradia 520 Versa offers

Materials Research

  • Characterize materials
  • Observe fracture mechanics
  • Investigate properties at multiple length scales
  • Quantify and characterize microstructural evolution
  • Perform in situ and 4D (time dependent studies) to understand the impact of heating, cooling, dessication, wetting, tension, tensile compression, imbibition, drainage and other simulated environmental studies

Non-destructive views into deeply buried micro-structures that may be unobservable with 2D surface imaging such as optical microscopy, SEM, and AFM; compositional contrast for studying low Z or "near Z" elements and other difficult-to-discern materials

Ability to maintain resolution at a distance for non-destructive in situ imaging experiments in varying conditions or native-like environments

Life Sciences

  • Perform histologies virtually
  • Visualize cellular and subcellular features
  • Characterize submicron to nm structures
  • Expand your views in developmental biology with high resolution, high contrast images of cellular and subcellular structures

Highest resolution and highest contrast for unstained and stained hard and soft tissues and biological microstructure

Natural Resources

  • Characterize and quantify pore structures
  • Measure fluid flow
  • Study carbon sequestration efforts
  • Analyze tailings to maximize mining efforts

The most accurate 3D submicron support for digital rock simulations, in situ multiphase fluid flow studies, and 3D mineralogy


  • Optimize your processes
  • Study package reliability
  • Perform failure analysis
  • Analyze package construction

Non-destructive submicron imaging of intact packages for defect re-localization and characterization with a fast time to results, complementing or replacing physical cross-sectioning

Contact Information

Arturas Vailionis
(650) 736-1186

Getting Started and Training Information

In order to become a qualified user on the Zeiss Xradia XCT, you need to follow each of these steps in the order as listed here:

  1. Complete the process to become a lab member of SNSF and follow the instructions to activate a Badger account.
  2. Send an email to Arturas Vailionis to request training.

Basic training for XRM requires one 2-3 hour group session followed by a second, one-on-one session, ideally with the trainee’s own sample. Those interested in training should contact the X-ray lab manager to make an appointment. Additional training in specific XRM and tomography techniques will be available on as as-needed basis following completion of the basic training.