Versatile software extends capabilities of CT

Researchers at the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility at the University of Manchester are using Nikon Metrology’s programmable Inspect-X software to develop bespoke computed tomography (CT) solutions that integrate third-party analysis software and control external hardware. The 4D (three dimensions plus time) CT laboratory experiments have the potential to open up new avenues in industrial environments.

Parmesh Gajjar is a research associate at the imaging facility who has been discovering the possibilities of the programmable IPC (inter-process communication) interface to Nikon’s X-ray control software and how it can be harnessed to perform temporal (time-related) CT for scientific, non-destructive observation and quantification of processes that change structure over time in 3D. He says: “Nikon Metrology’s programmable CT systems are a gold mine for researchers and manufacturers alike, as it gives users the flexibility to do whatever they choose.”

Andrew Ramsey, a consultant at Nikon Metrology with experience of developing special CT applications in industry adds: “In the aerospace industry for example, when studying accelerated fatigue crack propagation in fan blades, time-lapse CT can be used to replicate years of work in a fraction of the time.”

The fully programmable IPC software interface allows users to write their own code and implement individual functions in Inspect-X. These functions range from simple tasks such as turning the X-rays on and off, to high-level actions like initiating a CT scan with previously stored acquisition parameters, automatically reconstructing a CT volume using stored settings, and running an automatic analysis using stored macros while providing progress feedback throughout – all without further human intervention. The IPC program can create simplified user interfaces for previously cumbersome tasks and acquire data for the non-destructive examination of a 3D sample.
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