Imaging the Human Body: Micro- and Nanostructure of Human Tissues

  • Georg Schulz
  • Hans Deyhle
  • Bert Müller
Part of the NanoScience and Technology book series (NANO)


Computed tomography based on X-rays is known to provide the best spatial resolution of all clinical three-dimensional imaging facilities and currently reaches a fraction of a millimeter. Better spatial and density resolution is obtained by means of micro computed tomography well established in the field of materials science. It is also very supportive imaging human tissues down to the level of individual cells (Lareida et al. J. Microsc. 234:95, 2009). The article demonstrates the power of micro computed tomography for imaging parts of the human body such as teeth, inner ear, cerebellum, tumors, and urethral tissue with conventional X-ray sources and synchrotron radiation facilities in absorption and phase contrast modes. The second part of the chapter relies on scanning X-ray scattering of tooth slices (Müller et al. Eur. J. Clin. Nanomed. 3:30, 2010) to uncover the presence of nanostructures including their anisotropy and orientation. This imaging technique gives unrivalled insights for medical experts, which will have a major influence on fields such as dental and incontinence treatments.


Modulation Transfer Function Dentinal Tubule Absorption Contrast Stratum Granulosum Paul Scherrer Institute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful for the support of numerous researchers. In particular, the experimental support and the support in the SAXS data treatment of O. Bunk (Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland), the valuable assistance in SRμCT by F. Beckmann and J. Herzen (HZG, Hamburg, Germany), the experimental support and help in image generation of tumors by S. Lang (BMC, Basel Switzerland), the provision of the simulation data of the tumor by D. Szczerba (ETH Zrich, Switzerland), and the support of A. Lareida (BMC, Basel Switzerland) preparing the tomography data and the scheme on the inner ear are gratefully acknowledged.

The beamtimes were granted on the basis of the following approved beamtime applications: “Microcomputed tomography of human brain tissue using grating-based phase contrast” (MD-328, ESRF Grenoble France), “Microcomputed tomography of human brain for the nonrigid registration of histological slices” (II-20060035 EC, HASYLAB at DESY Hamburg Germany), “Remineralization studies of dentin by microcomputed tomography,” and “Three-dimensional high-resolution imaging the cellular structure of the human inner ear” (SLS at PSI, Villigen Switzerland).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomaterial Science CenterUniversity BaselBaselSwitzerland

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