JCSMR Director’s ‘Health through Discovery’ Public Lecture Series: 3D X-ray microscopy at ANU

Professor Tim Senden, Director, The Research School of Physics and Engineering, ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, ANU.

In 1979 Allan Cormack, a South African physicist and Godfrey Hounsfield, an English engineer shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their independent development of X-ray Computed Tomography (CT, sometimes called CAT scanning).  

The development of tomography weaves a story through the past hundred years.  With its origin based in pure mathematics this technique has spawned a family of medical imaging techniques that have revolutionised modern medical diagnosis.  With the increasing accessibility to high performance  computing, tomography is now returning to the research arena to be reimagined and has developed as a significant 3D microscopic technique to complement optical and electron microscopy.

Centred on 10 years of work at the Research School of Physics and Engineering this presentation will introduce the conceptual elements of the technique, how the instrument has been redeveloped at the ANU to solve a range of physical problems, spun-out a successful company and subsequently applied to broad topics in 3D microscopy.  Principally, this research addresses develop on the advantage that high fidelity structural information provides, particularly for the simulation of physical processes such as fluid flow.  A National CT facility, CTLab, has recently opened in JCSMR, and augments the techniques found in the neighbouring Centre for Advanced Microscopy. With the initial research motivation presented, the remainder of the talk will showcase work in the biological sciences, colour 3D printing and feature some recent student work from the ANU Medical School.


Tim is a graduate of the ANU, completing his BSc(Hons) in Physical Chemistry in 1989 at the Research School of Chemistry, and subsequently his PhD in Atomic Force Microscopy in 1993 at Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE).  He held positions at the College de France (Paris), Institute Charles Sadron (Strasbourg), and UNSW-Canberra before returning the Dept Applied Mathematics, RSPE in 1997. Tim uses his background in experimental surface science to teach undergraduate chemistry and to investigate surface phenomena at the nanometre scale covering topics including the stretching of single polymer chains, mechanical deformations in biological membranes, ceramics processing and measuring forces on nanoparticles. Over the past decade he has branched into X-ray micro-Tomography studying porous and granular materials, oil recovery, wood composites, paper and evolution in Devonian fishes. He has also been involved in developing novel uses of nano-particles in medical diagnoses and therapies, notably the use of graphene encapsulated radio-isotopes. Over the past decade he has commercially developed some of this research and was one of the team that spun-out, Digitalcore Pty Ltd. He has recently become Director of RSPE. Tim serves the university committee through his chairing the Kioloa Advisory Board and the Centre for Advanced Microscopy, and as academic staff representative on the University Council.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is required as the number of seats is strictly limited.

Enquiries or to RSVP:E madeleine.nicol@anu.edu.auT 02 6125 2577

Date & time

5.30–6.15pm 26 October 2015


The Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, 131 Garran Rd, ANU


 Dr Madeleine Nicol
 02 6125 2577

Updated:  24 October 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, JCSMR/Page Contact:  Web Manager