YXLON enters cooperation with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Microcomputed Tomography Next Door to T. Rex TRISTAN

As part of a newly concluded cooperation agreement, Yxlon will provide the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN – Museum of Natural History in Berlin) with the high-resolution computed tomography system YXLON FF35 CT. The system, which required the museum to extend a window in the historical building for its installation, is due to be up-and-running by the end of July in the so-called Hall of Microscopes behind the famous Tristan Room. The flood of visitors who come to see TRISTAN, the first of two original Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons in Europe, can then look forward to the next attraction one door further: From the so-called Visitor’s Gallery, they not only have the opportunity to view original exhibits such as skull and body skeletons of mammals, fossil specimens from different rock layers with inclusions and highly diverse preservation techniques, drilling samples with mineral particles, contrasted reptiles and amphibians as well as nailed insects. They can also experience live how CT analyses of these specimens are performed.
Museums are increasingly utilizing non-destructive computed tomography not only for scientific research in areas such as evolution, paleontology or paleoecology – the digitalization of billions of specimens in natural and human history institutes globally is growing in significance. One reason for this is that digitalization can be used to examine valuable research specimens in detail, without having to put them at risk through handling. What is more, the digital objects can be made available to scientists throughout the entire world. This exchange between researchers across the globe not only enables new and innovative research methods but also safeguards preservation and archiving for the future. The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin has been utilizing this technology for many years and has gained deep insights into the opportunities yet also challenges associated with computed tomography.

High resolution is indispensable for the best reconstruction and visualization. With its dual tube technology, comprising a 225 kV microfocus tube and 190 kV nanofocus tube, the FF35-CT system provides the highest resolution with a degree of detail down to 150 nm, in conjunction with the special Yxlon flat detector. The use of Helix and Dual-Helix CT enables even large objects up to 50 cm height and 30 cm diameter to be scanned with high resolution.  The problem of adequate contrasting is encountered especially when it comes to the resolution of structures in low-contrast soft tissue such as organs, muscles and fat cells. A central task of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin will be to find solutions and process optimizations using contrast media, while assisting Yxlon with the corresponding technical refinement of the CT system and its software. Metal artefacts resulting from the nature of their preparation (as for example occurring with needled insects) are also some of the challenges that Yxlon and the museum will tackle in their cooperation, with the joint goal of specially optimizing computed tomography for the field of life sciences, while ensuring they are ideally prepared for the requirements of digital archiving of biological specimens.
About the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN)
The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN) is an excellent and integrated research museum of the Leibniz Association with international reach and globally networked research infrastructure. It is active in three closely interrelated fields: collection-assisted research, collection refinement and development (especially digitalization in this regard), as well as research-based publicity and educational work. With over 30 million exhibits, the MfN is home to one of the largest collections in the field of zoology, paleontology, geology and mineralogy. More information: www.museumfuernaturkunde.berlin/en

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