The Explore Locus RS pre-clinical in vivo scanner (GE Medical Systems, London Ontario) is a cone-beam volume CT system which permits the live imaging of rodents.
This systems uses a tungsten source X-ray tube operating at 80 kV and 450 microamperes. The X-ray source and CCD-based detector gantry is rotated around the subject in roughly 1.0-degree increments.
Typical scans generate 46, 92 or 138 µm isotropic voxels in live animals and require 10-40 minutes for data acquisition. The scanner is capable of respiratory and cardiac gating, permitting motion-suppressed scans of the inspired lung.
The RS CT is an optimal system for longitudinal studies of tumor progression in the lung of mice, and can clearly distinguish lesions that are smaller than a half-millimeter in diameter. The assessment of bone mineral density in live animals or specimens is also possible.
With the addition of exogeneous contrast agents, the RS CT can produce images of the vasculature or of many abdominal organs, such as the kidney, spleen and liver. Geometric models (.vtk, .stl, other) can be produced by the system for applications such as finite element modeling. This instrument is also often used to facilitate registration of data from multiple modalities.