Microtomography Laboratory


Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Twarda 51/55 St., 00-818 Warsaw
tel. +48 22 697 8879; e-mail: stolacy@twarda.pan.pl
Head: Jarosław Stolarski


templates/nanofun/photo/Laboratoria/NanoFun_Twarda_008.jpgThe Little Prince from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book had to make two drawings to explain that a boa constrictor digesting an elephant should not be mistaken with a hat. In Microtomography Laboratory in the Institute of Paleobiology we may - using our instrument - instantly present both: virtual sections and 3D reconstructions of any object including the digested elephant, assuming it’s rather dwarf size. The main analytical instrument of the laboratory that would help us with similar tasks is the x-ray micro–computed tomography scanner Zeiss XRadia MicroXCT-200. The instrument is one of two similar highresolution 3D X-ray imaging systems in Poland, but the only one that is equipped with relatively low-energy X-ray source (from 20 to 90 kV). This is particularly relevant in research of biological, soft matter samples such as biominerals, advanced polymermineral nanocomposites, or organism’s soft tissues. The instrument, as each micro–computed tomography scanner, uses X-rays to create cross-sections of a physical object (1st step) that can be used to recreate a virtual 3D model (2nd step) without destroying the original sample. In other words, based on hundreds or thousands of angular 2D views acquired while the object rotates (at least 180 degree, but usually 360), a computer synthesizes a stack of virtual sections through the object.

The scanner allows for high resolution imaging (1 μm) for relatively large samples (few centimeters in size), however a unique feature of the device is its integrated phase contrast technology that enables unparalleled imaging quality. The phase contrast (based on the Zernike method) enhances the visibility of material interfaces when absorption contrast is very low (low-Z materials such as liquids in porous nanocomposite materials) and enables visibility of ultrastructures without special contrast staining. templates/nanofun/photo/Laboratoria/NanoFun_Twarda_013.jpgMoreover, standard MicroCT scanners require the sample to be moved towards the source to obtain higher resolution. Here, working distances between source, sample and detector are fully adjustable that allows to accommodate large range of sample sizes without loss of resolution. Another unique feature of the device is that it uses several revolver-mount detectors (scintillators) that can be quickly changed to scan the sample at different resolutions. The current research in the Laboratory is focused on biominerals, as inspiration source for novel advance materials, on biocompatible magnetic materials for nanomedicine (cooperation with Chemistry Department, University of Warsaw), and on broadly defined growth of organism’s skeletal structures.


Publications based on the research performed in this NanoFun Laboratory

  1. Katarzyna Janiszewska, Maciej Mazur, Stéphane Escrig, Anders Meibom and Jarosław Stolarski, Aragonitic scleractinian corals in the Cretaceous calcitic sea, Geology 2017; 45 (4): 319-322. doi: 10.1130/G38593.1, link
  2. Katarzyna Frankowiak, Xingchen T. Wang, Daniel M. Sigman, Anne M. Gothmann, Marcelo V. Kitahara, Maciej Mazur, Anders Meibom and Jarosław Stolarski, "Photosymbiosis and the expansion of shallow-water corals", Sciences Advances, 2016, link
  3. Anne M. Gothmann, Jarosław Stolarski, Jess F. Adkins, Blair Schoene, Kate J. Dennis, Daniel P. Schrag, Maciej Mazur, Michael L. Bender, Fossil corals as an archive of secular variations in seawater chemistry since the Mesozoic, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 160 (2015) 188–208, link
  4. Roberto Arrigoni, Yuko F. Kitano, Jaroslaw Stolarski, Bert W. Hoeksema, Hironobu Fukami,Fabrizio Stefani, Paolo Galli, Simone Montano, Elisa Castoldi and Francesca Benzoni, A phylogeny reconstruction of the Dendrophylliidae (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) based on molecular and micromorphological criteria, and its ecological implications, Zoologica Scripta Volume 43, Issue 6, pages 661–688, November 2014. (link)
  5. Janiszewska, K., Jaroszewicz, J., Stolarski, J. Skeletal ontogeny in basal scleractinian micrabaciid corals. Journal of Morphology 2013; 274(3):243-257. link
  6. Frankowiak K., Mazur M., Gothmann A., Stolarski J. Diagenetic alteration of the Triassic coral from aragonite-Konservat-Lagersätte in Alakir Çay, Turkey: Implications for geochemical measurements. Palaios. 2013; 28:333-342. link
  7. Gorzelak P. & Zamora S. Stereom microstructures of Cambrian echinoderms revealed by cathodoluminescence (CL). Palaeontologia Electronica. 2013; 16 (3): 32A, 1-17. link