Use of microscopic computed-tomography (micro-CT) scanning continues to grow in biomedical research. Laboratory-based micro-CT scanners, laboratory-based nano-CT scanners, and integrated micro-CT/SPECT and micro-CT/PET scanners are now manufactured for "turn-key" operation by a number of commercial vendors. In recent years a number of technical developments in X-ray sources and X-ray imaging arrays have broadened the utility of micro-CT. Of particular interest are photon-counting and energy-resolving detector arrays. These are being explored to maximize micro-CT image grayscale dynamic range and to further increase image contrast by utilizing the unique spectral attenuation characteristics of individual chemical elements. X-ray phase-shift images may increase contrast resolution and reduce radiation exposure. Although radiation exposure is becoming a concern with the drive for increased spatial and temporal resolution, especially for longitudinal studies, gated scans and limited scan-data-set reconstruction algorithms show great potential for keeping radiation exposure to a minimum.
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