The Center for Quantitative Imaging is a multi-user research facility designed to serve the microCT imaging needs of the University and the broader scientific research community. The CQI focuses on two main areas of research - monitoring of internal processes in experimental systems and characterization of complex three-dimensional structure and material composition in natural and synthetic systems. Examples of relevant research are the quantification of changes in porosity distribution during mechanical deformation, characterization of changes in fluid phase distribution during multi-phase flooding of porous media, morphometric analyses of the three-dimensional structure of trabecular bone and other complex biological structures, and imaging of micro- and macrostructures in biological organisms, foods, rock, and manufactured materials.

MicroCT imaging provides non-destructive access to the internal structure and composition of a variety of objects and materials. Studies supported by the Center range from internal structural characterization to dynamic 4-D research projects in which internal processes are monitored and quantified. Subject areas can be loosely divided into Earth and Energy, Biological/Anthropological, Agricultural, and Engineering sciences. Below we describe some of the major research areas we have supported in the recent past.

Earth and Energy

We investigate multiphase flow and transport phenomena in porous media to improve the representation and prediction of hydrocarbon recovery processes, underground pollutant migration, carbon sequestration, and the natural flow of ground water. We use X-ray computed microtomography to characterize structural properties of porous media, rock fractures, mineralogy, and to monitor fluid-fluid and fluid-rock interactions in dynamic systems.


The Center supports research in the anthropological and life sciences, particularly in the characterization of complex three-dimensional biological structures. We have expertise in imaging of bone structure at multiple length scales, in a variety of organisms, and in both living and fossil taxa. Ongoing work includes the characterization of morphometric variation in mouse models for Apert syndrome, quantification and modeling of bone development and suture formation, analysis of the biomechanics and structural variation of trabecular bone in humans and other primates, and the characterization of phenotypic variation and plasticity in fish.  


The Center has supported research into the importance of soil pore networks for the transport of water, nutrients, and contaminants in soil systems as well as work characterizing root structures in plants. 


We have worked on projects investigating microstructural characterization, damage evolution and mass transport in concrete and other manufactured materials.