This year marks the 125th anniversary of Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery X-rays, for which he went on to win the first ever Nobel Prize for Physics.
To celebrate World Radiography Day 2020 Dr. Andrew Mathers (X-ray CT Project Manager) scanned two species of large beetles native to the United Kingdom, namely a Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) and a Dung Beetle (Geotrupes spiniger).
X-ray CT enables us to non-destructively visualise the exceptionally complex fine structure of both these wonderful insects. The 3D renderings of the exoskeleton of the beetles allow us to study their external features, including compound eyes, mandibles, wing cases (elytra), antennae, limb spikes (tibial teeth), setae (hairs) and tarsal claws. The clipped 3D renderings allow us to visualise features of their complex internal systems, including hemolymph circulatory, digestive, nervous, respiratory, reproductive, endocrine and Malpighian tubule.
The X-ray CT scans of these insects were acquired a matched power (Watts) and voxel resolution (µm), of 11 and 12 for the lesser stag and dung beetle, respectively. Both scans were acquired using a Nikon XT H 225, which houses a Nikon 225 kV microfocus X-ray source fitted with a tungsten reflection target (transmission and rotating targets also available), coupled with a XRD4343CT flat panel detector. For both these scans the detector acquired 4492 projections at an exposure of 1000 ms and a gain of 12 dB.
X-ray CT data was reconstructed using a modified filtered back projection algorithm in Nikon CT Pro 3D and rendered using the isorender, phong and X-ray renderer in Volume Graphics Studio Max 3.4.