How long will my scan take and how much will it cost?

Scan length is primarily determined by the quality of the scan and the different parameters (i.e., exposure, frame averaging) selected for scanning. Refer to the Scanning and Data Processing page for more details about these parameters and for scanning fees.

What is the resolution of your scanner?

Resolution (i.e., pixel or voxel size) of the scan is a function of which target head (transmission target, reflection target, or rotating target) is on the machine and the size of the object being scanned (i.e., how close the object can be to the x-ray source). In general, our system is capable of scanning objects with a pixel size of between ~1 and 200 microns.

How do I prepare my sample for scanning?

This will depend on your sample, but generally we suggest packaging your specimen in a low density protective material such as foam, bubble wrap, or cotton. The specimen and its wrapping should be placed into a plastic container (e.g., a washed plastic drink bottle). The specimens should be snug within the container to prevent movement during scanning. Multiple specimens can be packaged together. Please note, MICRO technicians may partially or fully unwrap and rewrap specimens to optimize scanning geometry. Refer to the Scanning and Data Processing page for more details on scanning preparation. 

How long will you keep my scan data?

MICRO will store all primary scan data for 90 days. Within this period, reconstructed image stacks or VGL files may be deleted to allocate additional space, but they can be reconstituted from the original scan data. Unless a written request has been received and approved by MICRO, all scan data will be deleted following this 90-day period. Metadata files may be retained as templates upon request for users planning for extended periods of CT scanning. Data may be deleted with a written request from the primary user at any time. More information can be found about data handling on the Scanning and Data Processing page and in the MICRO User Agreement

Who is eligible to become a trained user?

User training is limited to those individuals who anticipate scanning a large number of specimens and who are affiliated with the University of Arkansas. MICRO reserves the right to determine who is eligible for user training.

Can only University of Arkansas researchers use MICRO?

Anyone is welcome to submit objects for scanning at MICRO. We especially encourage educators and students to submit objects for scanning free of charge (see Outreach).

Do you offer a discount to NSF researchers?

Yes, NSF (and other federally funded) researchers will be offered a discount on scanning. Please contact micro@uark.edu to discuss rates for your research.

How large or small of a sample can you scan?

Our equipment can accommodate a wide range of objects for scanning. Maximum object size is approximately 21 cm in diameter (e.g., the diameter of a soccer ball) and 50 cm tall, with a maximum weight of 50 kg. Object size and scan resolution are typically inversely related, such that large objects must either be scanned at a larger pixel size or scanned in smaller sections and stitched together, while small objects can be scanned at much smaller voxel sizes.

How do I get my data?

Users should include an empty, USB-capable hard drive or thumb drive with any specimens shipped or brought to MICRO. Hard drives should be clearly labeled with the name and contact information of the primary contact. The hard drive must be compatible with Windows 7 (e.g., FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT) and have sufficient storage space for all scan data. Data will be returned on the included hard drive with the specimen. Visitors to MICRO should bring their own portable storage device(s) along with their specimen(s). We strongly recommend SSD hard drives rather than HDD hard drives as SSD are capable of considerably faster data transfer rates than HDD. MICRO is not responsible for data integrity on non-MICRO hardware.  

What format will the scan data be in when I receive it?

Our standard data output type is a 16-bit TIFF image stack paired with one or more metadata files. TIFF is a lossless image format, which can result in datasets that are several gigabytes in volume. TIFF stacks are not inherently spatial, but the *.XtekCT metadata file included with your datasets contains the voxel dimension in X, Y, and Z orientations for input into 3D modeling software. We are also equipped to output *.VGL volume files that open directly into VG Studio Max.

Is there anything you won’t scan?

We won’t scan things that are too large or heavy for our equipment, anything without appropriate permissions to be scanned (i.e., museum accessioned specimens), objects that are particularly fragile, or anything dangerous or hazardous.

How long will it take for my object to be scanned?

This will depend on equipment demand and the required parameters of your scan. Please contact us at micro@uark.edu to discuss scan scheduling.

Where should I mail my sample for scanning?

Please note that we treat all specimens with care, and we may elect not to scan material if it appears too delicate to handle or if packaging has been damaged prior to arriving at MICRO. In some instances we may request that the primary user be on hand during scanning to handle particularly sensitive or fragile objects. We return all specimens to the primary user; MICRO will not ship specimens to addresses or personnel other than the primary user. Though we strive to ensure the integrity of all materials scanned at MICRO, MICRO is not responsible for any damage that may inadvertently occur during shipping and/or scanning. Our mailing address can be found on the Contact page; please contact MICRO personnel prior to shipping any items to us for scanning.