When Simon Zabler talks about his first X-ray microscopic images, he waxes lyrical – especially about the aesthetic patterns he was able to make visible in aluminum-silicon alloys. That was almost twenty years ago during his Master’s studies in Grenoble, France. Since then, the physicist has never lost his fascination for the three-dimensional microscopic world.
Who needs micro-computed tomography?
Zabler and his group’s laboratories are located just a few kilometers away from the Institute of Physics, where Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895. And the Chair of X-ray Microscopy at the University of Würzburg, with which the Fraunhofer researchers work closely, is right next door. Zabler still uses micro-computed tomography to examine metal alloys today. But this technology’s field of application is much broader. “Micro-CT is primarily used in materials research, especially to examine fiber-reinforced composites or cast components,” Zabler explains. He has even done CT scans of ice cores and milk foam.