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Title: Absorption and Phase Contrast X-Ray Imaging in Paleontology Using Laboratory and Synchrotron Sources

X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT) is commonly used for imaging of samples in biomedical or materials science research. Owing to the ability to visualize a sample in a nondestructive way, X-ray CT is perfectly suited to inspect fossilized specimens, which are mostly unique or rare. In certain regions of the world where important sedimentation events occurred in the Precambrian geological time, several fossilized animals are studied to understand questions related to their origin, environment, and life evolution. This article demonstrates the advantages of applying absorption and phase-contrast CT on the enigmatic fossil Corumbella werneri, one of the oldest known animals capable of building hard parts, originally discovered in Corumba (Brazil). Different tomographic setups were tested to visualize the fossilized inner structures: a commercial laboratory-based CT device, two synchrotron-based imaging setups using conventional absorption and propagation-based phase contrast, and a commercial X-ray microscope with a lens-coupled detector system, dedicated for radiography and tomography. Based on our results we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different imaging setups for paleontological studies.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Microscopy and Microanalysis; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 5
Microscopy Society of America (MSA)
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)
Country of Publication:
United States
synchrotron; Corumbella werneri; X-ray micro CT; fossils; paleontology