Nikon Metrology

New X-ray research centre at Southampton University equipped with Nikon Metrology Systems

Nikon Metrology, Press Release, X-ray and CT Inspection

A new groundbreaking research centre designed to examine materials and structures has been recently launched at the University of Southampton. The µ-VIS (micro-vis) X-ray Imaging Center provides academic and industrial consultancy services to examine the internal structure of objects in incredible detail. It produces high-resolution 3D images that support research in fields ranging from biomedical science to engineering, and archaeology to modern environmental science. Nikon Metrology and other state-of-the art systems at the new £2.2 million research facilities provide micro-focus Computed Tomography (CT) imaging to exceptional energy and length scales.

Systems characterizing many different samples

Inaugurated in September 2011, Southampton’s µ-VIS Imaging Centre is equipped to achieve breakthroughs in engineering, biomedical, environmental and archaeology sciences. At the Centre, three Nikon Metrology systems are installed: a 160kV Xi benchtop system, an XT H 225 ST cabinet system and a custom-designed walk-in bay with 450 kV and 225 kV sources, as well as a flat panel and line array detector. “Our ability to look inside objects at this level of detail is a huge advantage when studying items which either cannot be dismantled or are too delicate or complicated to take apart,” says the Centre’s Director Professor Ian Sinclair.

University Southampton 

Prof. Sinclair explains on CT during inauguration of the µ-VIS Imaging Centre (photo courtesy Paul McCabe)


University Southampton

Custom-designed Nikon Metrology X-ray 450kV walk-in bay (photo courtesy Paul McCabe)

CT volume of a Pliosaur’s 2.5-meter long jaw

The opening seminar at the Center’s inauguration event was organized as a symposium focusing on application results. Professor Ian Sinclair, the Head of the Imaging Center, discussed the Weymouth Pliosaur research where a 2.5-meter long jaw has been scanned and reconstructed, as widely reported on the BBC last December. X-rays revealed the reptile’s inner architecture of the skull. This allows scientists to gain critical insights into the species and its evolution, including such alarming aspects as the bite force of the enormous jaws.

 University Southampton

A Pliosaur’s jaw fossil is being prepared for X-ray inspection


 University Southampton 

Renderings of a Pliosaur’s total skull, compared to the human skull, and slices showing tooth socket details

Beside the academic services, the µ-VIS (micro-vis) X-ray Imaging Center also provides industrial consultancy services for a broad application reach. Research performed at the Centre includes e.g. research on composites, laminate structures, aircraft parts and more.
More information on the center can be found at