The MNHN's X-ray Tomography Imaging Platform of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle


The main objective of the AST-RX platform is to allow the microtomography scanning of natural sciences specimens with the aim of studying and preserving MNHN collections, as well as analyzing ancient materials.

The X-rays tomography is a non-destructive technique to visualize 3D inner structures. The technique relies on the collection of several thousands of radiographies of an object under a rotation over 360°. The object is described by a stack of thin slices to create a 3D volume. These virtual sections are greyscale images reflecting the densities of the materials.

The equipment’s technical capabilities allow the tomographic analysis of specimens of varying sizes (from millimeters to dozens of centimeters) and of different densities allowing a wide range of applications.


The “Scientific Access to the X-Ray Tomography” platform (AST-RX in French), is attached to the UMS CNRS/MNHN 2700 2AD « Acquisition et Analyses de Données pour l’Histoire naturelle » (Acquisition and Analyses for Data in Natural History). This platform has two scientific coordinators, Sandrine LADEVEZE and Isabelle ROUGET, a technical manager and principal engineer Marta BELLATO, and an image analysis and training engineer Patricia WILS.

The platform equipment includes a computed tomograph (CT-scan) « v | tome | x L 240-180 » model from Baker Hughes Digital Solutions. The X-Ray Tomograph is located in Building 140, îlot Poliveau - 43 rue Buffon, 75 005 Paris. The main features of the « v|tome|x L240-180 »: two interchangeable tubes: (240 kV/320 W microfocus tube and 180 kV/15 W nanofocus tube), 400×400 mm detector 2024×2024 pixel matrix (pixel size: 200×200 μm).