CeM-CATS: A Centre for Multi-disciplinary Computer Assisted Tomography at Southampton

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment

Abstract

The childhood dream of Superman's instant 3D X-ray vision is becoming a substantial reality across a tremendous range of contemporary science and engineering. In particular, the three dimensional imaging of X-ray computed tomography (CT) is reaching far beyond the more widely known medical domain, as generally identified with 'CAT' scanning (after computer assisted, or axial, tomography). The last decade has seen the appearance of technologies for rapid, CT scanning of objects, from rockets to rocks to rodents, with commercial equipment that is now within the reach of individual universities and university departments. Whilst taking high resolution three dimensional images has almost become as fast as taking a polaroid photograph, there is a price for scientists and engineers concerned with using the technique. In particular, few turn out to be ready for the enormous volumes of information that are produced and the extensive analysis required. We propose bringing together teams of scientists and engineers that have immediate need of CT imaging, with a suite of advanced CT capabilities, along with world-leading experts in high performance computing (HPC), and the art of image processing within computers (Computer Vision). Together this will produce a uniquely efficient, multi-disciplinary centre for 3D imaging science, exploiting the latest technologies in cost-effective supercomputing and data handling methods. The centre will further exploit our experience in eScience, unifying and simplifying the interaction between human, instrument and data.Over 40 academics, drawn from almost half of the departments of the University are committed to this initiative. Three core themes are identified in Engineering, Biomedical and Environmental Science, addressing many critical current human needs in areas such as energy, climate change and the origins of lifelong health. When included with facilities already available at Southampton, the centre will provide for the entire imaging process for samples of the order of an ant's head to a car engine; from initial experimental concept & training, through data capture & analysis, to new scientific knowledge.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Following the preliminary launch of services in January 2011 and full launch in September 2011, we can report that the Centre has:

- Performing some 140 user experiments per annum (consistent level between ~2012 & 2016), serving projects from a wide range of funding bodies, including EPSRC, MRC, NERC, BBSRC, NERC, TSB, Leverhulme Trust, DSTL, EU, NPL, English Heritage, The Arts Council, Leverhulme, Wellcome, The British Heart Foundation, STFC, MoD, USAF/EOARD, .

- Acted as a founding partner in the 'Computationally Intensive Imaging' University Strategic Research Group, a cross-faculty initiative (Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Life Sciences, Environmental Sciences) addressing the underpinning roles of algorithm development, software implementation, data through-put and archiving/repositories in contemporary scientific imaging (http://www.southampton.ac.uk/multidisciplinary/usrgs/usrglisting/computationallyintensiveimaging.page?).

- Supported national activities via contributions to EPSRC CCPi and the NPL XCT User Focus Group, alongside of activities at the Diamond Light Source (co-development of the DIAD Beamline and participation in the Diamond 10 Year Vision).

- Undertaken regular (between 2 and 4 per year) user development events/workshops to new user communities (~30+ delegates) and numerous small group training exercises (circa 3-6 delegates).

- Acted as a founding element in formation of the novel multidisciplinary Crop Systems Engineering Group, leading to a world first in the 3D imaging of living wheat roots in natural soil at sub-micron fidelity and corresponding image-based simulation of phosphate uptake into root and root-hairs.

- Initiated several new research interest-groups (specifically, 'Digital Volume Correlation', 'Bio-polymer Imaging', 'Composite Imaging', Lung Imaging' and 'Image Reconstruction').

- Been central to a new product (scanner) development with Nikon Metrology, specifically to bring to market a new class of clinical microCT system. Development work has led to pre-clincial trails now being funded by the Wellcome Foundation and pre-release scanners now being built in the UK.
Exploitation Route - Industrial projects and consultancy support to date include: Airbus, AugustaWestland, Luxfer, Mott-MacDonald, Cytec, Wallop Defence, De Puy, Vestas, Invibio, Aurora Medical, Philips Healthcare, Moog, Mott Macdonald, Semprus Biosciences, RSI, GKN, EADS, Mclaren, CTG, Renishaw, MBDA, Moog, Meggitt, Mahle, Drax and Qinetiq. We are typically involved

- Collaborative proposals and projects have been developed with several industrial research institutions: National Composite Centre (UK), NPL (UK) and SIMTech (Singapore), TWI (UK), Lloyds Register.

- Scan data and video content has been provided for local schools and the faculty outreach programme. A new outreach activity is been developed via the faculty outreach programme, across a range of Hampshire schools (~6) focusing on KS2 biology/environmental studies: specifically plant nutrition, via in situ X-ray imaging of a live venus fly trap consuming insects, with associated researcher blog, videos & 3D image content.

- Scan and video content has been provided to local museum services (Dorset County Museums), supporting public display of the world-class 'Weymouth Bay Pliosaur': this has been used in electronic installations within the museum and wider public dissemination (particularly BBC TV, Web and Radio services). As an imaging service, this project's primary exploitation route is in demonstrating the capabilities of advanced Computed Tomography to new industry groups and sectors: this is being achieved via: (a) extensive support for industrially sponsored research (see below), (b) direct industrial consultancy (typically 5-6 individual jobs being received per month at present) and (c) industrially training courses (a 2 day programme was been developed in 2012, with a view to 2 events being offered per year).

- In terms of novel technical findings, the crop security and clinical histopathology outcomes may be identified as being amongst the most useful to communities outside of the original centre's plans, with potentially far reaching non-academic value.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/muvis
 
Description The X-ray service has settled at a reasonably consistent usage pattern of ~ 70% academic and 30% industrial use (based on numbers of tasks). The industrial use covers a number of sectors, but most significant are: (a) structural composites, and (b) high value electro-mechanical devices (valves, sensors etc). Industrial use is particularly centred around our high kV/large sample scanner, providing a technical capability that few companies can support themselves. Forms of industrial use include manufacturing (e.g. defect detection) and service analysis. Within the academic context, user experiments now fall into the following approximate proportions: 40% traditional engineering applications, 30% biomedical and bioengineering, 15% 'heritage' (archaeology/palaeontology/arts), 15% environmental applications. Two areas of unexpected but now potentially major impact are: (a) crop systems engineering, and (b) soft tissue histopathology. The crop systems engineering activity has strongly drawn on X-ray imaging of soil and roots in support of multiscale biophysical simulation. This has mushroomed into a multi-million pound collaborative grant portfolio with both academic and industrial partners. In the long term this is expected to make a substantial contribution to multi-disciplinary resolution of future crop security. Short term commercial impact being indicated by a recent Knowledge Transfer Secondment to the innovative sewage nutrient recovery company, Ostera (having launched the UK's first nutrient recovery plant in 2013). Having finished the KTS, Ostera has funded additional work. In relation to soft tissue histopathology, the lab has published the first known data showing diagnostically relevant 3D information from standard clincial histopathology samples, thereby opening microCT to an entrirely new clincial market. This led to two submissions for translational medicine grants (TSB & Wellcome, both with Nikon) to realise the potential of this technology in relation to respiratory healthcare. The pre-clinical trial work was funded by Wellcome Foundation, bringing together a panel of world-leading histopathologists to review diagnostic power against a range of lung conditions. This has now been followed up by a £1.1M award from Wellcome to continue translating µCT into routine pathology use (see awards) On the aerospace and manufacturing theme, our track record in structural composites and large CT capabilities has been exploited in a TSB project collaboration with Nikon and QinetiQ to specifically evidence large-scale NDE capabilties for future aerospace product development. This has also led to several £100k's of direct industrial research/consultancy on CT of complex additively manufactured parts.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Application of advanced computed tomography to pressure vessels (Knowledge Transfer Secondment)
Amount £66,946 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H500243/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2011 
End 05/2012
 
Description Applications of advanced computed tomography (Knowledge Transfer Secondments)
Amount £75,851 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H500243/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2013 
End 05/2014
 
Description BBSRC/NERC Soil Security Programme - Large Grant
Amount £1,012,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/L026058/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 03/2019
 
Description Biocompatible fibre composites
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2013
 
Description Biocompatible fibre composites
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2013
 
Description Boeing - Industrial funds
Amount £87,000 (GBP)
Organisation Boeing 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description CR&D
Amount £449,577 (GBP)
Funding ID TS/L008254/1 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 03/2017
 
Description Certification for Design - Reshaping the Testing Pyramid
Amount £6,924,663 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S017038/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 07/2024
 
Description Exploring the influence of the plant lateral root gravitropic set point angle on architecture in soils using X-Ray Computed Tomography
Amount £114,798 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/I023321/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2011 
End 03/2013
 
Description Foundations for routine 3D X-ray histology
Amount £1,135,071 (GBP)
Funding ID 212940 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description Future Manufacturing Research Hubs 2016
Amount £9,999,069 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P006701/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2022
 
Description H2020 Marie Curie ITN
Amount € 3,370,807 (EUR)
Funding ID 722626 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description Metrology of structured surfaces
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 08/2014
 
Description Metrology of structured surfaces
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation A*STAR - Southampton Research Attachment Programme 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2014
 
Description Mitsubushi Rayon - Industrial funding
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Mitsubishi Chemical Co Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description National Research Facility for Lab X-ray CT
Amount £10,097,652 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T02593X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2020 
End 10/2025
 
Description Pathfinder
Amount £98,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 109682/Z/15/Z 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Department Wellcome Trust Bloomsbury Centre
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description Quaternary incision of the lower Mekong River
Amount £63,419 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/J012440/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 09/2012
 
Description Regenerative Medicine Capital Funding
Amount £1,161,943 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/L012626/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2013 
End 04/2014
 
Description Standard Research
Amount £615,038 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2019
 
Description Standard Research
Amount £350,964 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2018
 
Description Truly Predicting Root Uptake of Water: Case Study with Wheat
Amount £366,498 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/J000868/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2012 
End 08/2015
 
Title µVIS Data & Metadata 
Description All scans carried out (~140 user experiments per year) are automatically logged and archieved in a single searchable database for (a) raw data, (b) scan metadata, and (c) image post-processing. Total entries now in the order of 600 experiments 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Groups involved in fibre fracture modelling in CFRP have set up collaborations 
 
Description 3D imaging of fibre break processes in CFRPs 
Organisation Mitsubishi Chemical Co Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise in fibre break studies in CFRPs, particularly in situ loaded
Collaborator Contribution Funding for researchers (PhD and brief research fellowship)
Impact No impact yet (early stages)
Start Year 2015
 
Description AWE KTS 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Algorithmic strategies for CT image quality analysis and limited data reconstruction problems
Collaborator Contribution Samples, context
Impact Knowledge transfer
Start Year 2013
 
Description Cytec KTS 
Organisation Cytec Industries
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Imaging methods and image-driven modelling of composite mechanics
Collaborator Contribution Materials, industrial context and applications
Impact Knowledge transfer
Start Year 2010
 
Description Experimental validation of onset theory for failure in CFRPs 
Organisation Boeing
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise in in situ CT testing of CFRPs
Collaborator Contribution PhD funding
Impact No impact - early stages.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Chomarat Group
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Mines ParisTech
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Siemens AG
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Toyota Motor Corporation
Department Toyota Motor Europe NV SA
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation University of Leuven
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description FiBreMoD - Fibre break models for designing novel composite microstructures and applications 
Organisation Weizmann Institute of Science
Country Israel 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution X-ray imaging of CFRP failure
Collaborator Contribution Modelling
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description Future Composites Manufacturing Hub 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Chemistry Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Spoke responsible for imaging
Collaborator Contribution Just started
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description Imaging composite damage - Uniersity of Uppsala & GKN 
Organisation Uppsala University
Department Department of Engineering Sciences
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Secondment of PhD (Sanjay Sisoida) to µVIS from Uppsala for CT imaging - use of labs
Collaborator Contribution PhS student time
Impact Journal article: 10.1016/j.compscitech.2016.05.010 Not multi-disciplinary
Start Year 2015
 
Description Luxfer KTS 
Organisation Luxfer Gas Cylinders
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Technical capabilities
Collaborator Contribution Samples, industrial context & applications
Impact Knowledge transfer
Start Year 2010
 
Description Multiscale and In Situ Laboratory X-Ray Computed Tomography National Research Facility 
Organisation Henry Royce Institute
Department Henry Royce Institute – University of Manchester Facilities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Spoke site for National Research Facility for lab computed tomography: we (Southampton) cover (a) large engineering structure imaging and (b) biomedical imaging.
Collaborator Contribution Manchester, Warwick, UCL & Southampton, together provide a multi-disciplinary coverage of UK X-ray CT needs in engineering and physical sciences
Impact NRF is just starting (<6 months)
Start Year 2020
 
Description Nikon TSB 
Organisation X-Tek Systems Ltd (Nikon Metrology UK Ltd)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of new large scale hardware for aircraft component NDE via X-ray methods
Collaborator Contribution Industrial context/applications and joint TSB funding (with QinetiQ) of "Project CAN" (£2.7M total project budget)
Impact Ongoing project
Start Year 2014
 
Description Ostera KTS 
Organisation Ostera
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Innovative imaging of plants, soil & fertiliser bahaviour
Collaborator Contribution Materials, industrial context/application.
Impact Knowledge transfer
Start Year 2012
 
Description Teledyne Scientific and U Miami 
Organisation Teledyne Technologies International Corp
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of synchrotron CT data for structural modelling tools for FRPs
Collaborator Contribution Modelling of specific experimental cases, training of Southampton PhD (Mr Gregor Borstnar) at Miami, provision of AFEM modelling software tools
Impact Joint conference contribution (3DMS, Thousand Oaks, 2012). Recently accepted journal article to Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Start Year 2011
 
Title MicroCT for routine clinical pathology 
Description Wellcome Trust Pathfinder award and in-house lab activities, identifying ability to image diagnostically relevant structural features at µm scale in standard biopsies: critically, on samples that are prepared and mounted by fully standard pathology lab methods (wax mounted, no radiographic staining), causing no interruption to standard histopathology workflows. 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2016
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Development systems are being built (in UK) 
 
Description Colossal pliosaur fossil secrets revealed by CT scanner 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Various BBC News items varied by TV and Radio on many BBC channels, also included in web content here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12039963

Further medica enquiries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011
 
Description Great British Bioscience Festival 2014 (with Medical Faculty) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Trial runs with public have sparked consistent high levels of public interest in underlying science

TBD
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/society/exhibitions/gb-bioscience-festival/gb-bioscience-festival-index.aspx
 
Description Materials Research Exchange 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact New industrial contacts

New industrial user enquiries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.eventsforce.net/iom/frontend/reg/thome.csp?pageID=166280&eventID=369&eventID=369
 
Description Teeth, bones & X-rays! Schools visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Supporting the KS2 science curriculum, the "Teeth, Bones and X-rays!" event covered a range of science and engineering activities, including examination of genuine Saxon remains, numerous animal skulls, Jurassic Coast fossils and a Halloween pumpkin with a hidden surprise (revealed by X-ray).

Members of staff from Engineering & Environment, Biological Sciences and Humanities worked together to a tight schedule, providing a unique multi-disciplinary programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/muvis/media-activities/highfield-school-openday-2016.page
 
Description X-ray vision takes centre stage at unique new UK facility 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prehistoric marine monsters, human tissue, aircraft wings and even fossilised crocodile dung are yielding their innermost secrets to a unique new X-ray Imaging Centre - improved visability of the centre across many disciplines.

Sustained numbers of equiries from new users
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description X-rays reveal secrets of Roman coins 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Guardian online report on high energy X-ray imaging of archaeological artifacts, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/09/x-rays-reveal-secrets-roman-coins

Sustained interest in heritage applications of CT
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012