Industrial computed tomography (CT) scanning creates 3D representations of industrial objects and parts. CT imaging customers demand systems that scan faster and with higher resolutions. Also, the CT imaging methods must remain current with the new production technologies spreading rapidly throughout industry. These include additive layer manufactured (ALM) or fiber-reinforced polymer materials.
Beam-hardening artifacts result from distortions of the X-ray spectrum. These are induced by the sample’s preferential absorption of low-energy x-rays. They are visible as streaks in the images and can obscure flaws and faults in the inspected parts. Such artifacts are a common problem, especially in plastic and metal hybrid parts with fine structures. Ongoing research is focused on using the spectral capability of photon counting detectors to reduce these artifacts.
Highly resolving Nano-CT is also an important trend, especially for materials research and the electronics industry. The goal is to reach voxel sizes of a few 10s of nanometers at energies capable of penetrating dense material. Such a system needs a dedicated tube with a very small focal point.
To prevent the tube from melting, the electron flux on the anode must be kept at a very low level, which results in only a few photons making their way to the detector. To achieve an image with sufficient contrast, long acquisition times are required. Electronic noise makes it difficult for a conventional detector to expose for more than a few seconds. But with noise-free, hybrid photon counting (HPC) detectors, exposures of arbitrary durations are possible!
CT inspection, especially at high resolutions, can take a long time. The detectors must generate sufficiently good images with as few X-rays as possible and acquire them at high speed. Both issues are addressed by HPC detectors due to their high sensitivity and high readout speeds.