Propagation-based phase-contrast x-ray tomography of cochlea using a compact synchrotron source

Mareike Töpperwien, Regine Gradl, Daniel Keppeler, Malte Vassholz, Alexander Meyer, Roland Hessler, Klaus Achterhold, Bernhard Gleich, Martin Dierolf, Franz Pfeiffer, Tobias Moser & Tim Salditt

We demonstrate that phase retrieval and tomographic imaging at the organ level of small animals can be advantageously carried out using the monochromatic radiation emitted by a compact x-ray light source, without further optical elements apart from source and detector. This approach allows to carry out microtomography experiments which – due to the large performance gap with respect to conventional laboratory instruments – so far were usually limited to synchrotron sources. We demonstrate the potential by mapping the functional soft tissue within the guinea pig and marmoset cochlea, including in the latter case an electrical cochlear implant. We show how 3d microanatomical studies without dissection or microscopic imaging can enhance future research on cochlear implants.