Going 3D

X-ray Microscopy in Shared-Use Research Facilities​

A 4-part series to explore the scientific opportunities and increasing adoption of high resolution 3D X-ray microscopy within multi-user shared-instrument research facilities.​

Follow this series to learn:​

  • How X-ray microscopy is filling critical 3D characterization needs in numerous research fields​
  • Opportunities for knowledge-sharing among an emerging network of XRM users​
  • Key financial and logistical considerations of bringing X-ray microscopy into your shared facility​
  • The impact of XRM on research output via a strong peer-reviewed publication track record​

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Part 1 of 4: Science Needs 3D Characterization​

Explore the 360° image below and interact with the different application examples.

Porous Materials

Porous materials cover the broad class of systems with engineered porosity to provide a mix of functionality such as insulation, impact absorption, weight reduction, or fluid permeability.  3D XRM can  be used to quantify the porous morphology in 3D, provide computational domains for simulation, or observe structural change via  in situ  imaging.  


Biomaterials including implants, scaffolds,  or fibrous structures are often characterized by their 3D structure mimicking that of the natural systems with which they interface.  High resolution 3D X-ray microscopy enables the inspection and quantification of these 3D structures and how they interact with the biological world.

Mineralized Tissue

3D X-ray microscopy  is used  to gain high resolution (sub-micron) insight into the morphology of mineralized tissue to better understand phenomena such as  biomechanical behavior  or the  susceptibility  of the tissue  to disease  or other environmental factors.  

Semiconductor Packaging

Developments in modern microelectronic devices are characterized by trends in shrinking feature sizes, smaller interconnects with greater I/O density, thinner layers, and an increasing diversity of material types.  Nondestructive XRM offers the opportunity to observe  features and defects buried within intact  materials/structures in advanced  3D  architectures, while maintaining the region of interest for further analysis with other techniques.  


XRM provides a means to nondestructively inspect and visualize the distribution of multiple phases within composite materials  in three-dimensional space.  In fiber-based composites analyze fiber  distribution,  orientation, kinking, delamination,  cracking or other damage  mechanisms  within fibers or matrix.  

Metals & Additive Manufacturing

Metal alloys exhibit complex microstructures typically consisting of multiple phases, inclusions, and  crystalline  grains.  The recent development of additive manufacturing introduces additional challenges associated with part geometry, porosity, and surface characteristics.  With XRM, evaluate 3D structures using absorption or diffraction contrast tomography to better understand how these microstructures  are influenced by processing parameters and then ultimately  impact material properties.  

Energy Conversion & Storage Materials

Emerging green energy devices like batteries and fuel cells offer an attractive and more sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuel-derived energy.  In these devices, performance is closely associated with microstructure, as it dictates charge/mass transport processes and local electrochemical activity.  Apply XRM to nondestructively observe and quantify these 3D structures, including through their operation (in situ) or extended device lifetime (“4D”).  


3D X-ray microscopy provides a basis for structural visualization and quantification in a variety of geoscience disciplines spanning igneous and metamorphic petrology, paleontology, planetary geology, sedimentology, petroleum engineering, and economic (mining) geology.  Observe volumetric distributions and texture of different phases to understand formation processes or mechanical/thermal/flow properties.  

Part 2 of 4: Join a Thriving XRM Community​

In April 2021, ZEISS hosted the annual X-ray Microscopy User Meeting. Although conducted virtually, more than 80 attendees from over 50 institutions across North America joined to share their experiences working with ZEISS X-ray microscopes across a broad range of applications and disciplines. This special episode of ‘3D in 3 Minutes’ presents a whirlwind tour of some of their recent work.​

  • 3D in 3 Minutes

Part 3 of 4: Bringing X-ray Microscopy to Your Lab

X-ray microscopy is transforming the world of materials characterization with nondestructive, high resolution 3D imaging. Are your ready to bring these capabilities to your lab? Have you considered how to fund the instrument, develop a user base, and sustain strong productivity over the many years of the instrument’s lifetime? Download the 3-section white paper mini-series below, where we’ve compiled industry insights and market data to help address these questions and more – and enable you with the confidence you need to pursue the expansion of your lab with 3D X-ray microscopy.


  • Scientific Supply and Demand: The Role of Lab-Based X-ray Microscopy in Alleviating Bottlenecks and Decreasing Risk Associated with 3D Materials Characterization Workflows
  • Bringing X-ray Microscopy to the Core Facility: Opportunities and Strategies for Writing a Compelling Funding Proposal for XRM in your Lab
  • The Appeal of High Resolution X-ray Tomography in a Core Microscopy Facility: A Study of Recharge, User Base, and Automation

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Part 4 of 4: New XRM Results Published Every Day​

Scholarly publications are in many respects the ‘currency’ of science. They help describe new experiments, communicate results, and contribute to the collective knowledge of the research field. In the short video below, see the powerful impact X-ray microscopes have had by providing 3D microstructural data for numerous fields and their resulting publications.​ Are you ready to accelerate your lab’s research output with the addition of 3D XRM capabilities? Contact us below to see what XRM could do for your science and your sample.​

  • Going 3D with XRM: XRM Publications

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