Food and Packaging

Better contrast, better analysis

Exciscope Polaris and phase-contrast imaging specialize in imaging materials with similar contrasts, however, when the contrast between two material types is larger (such as between solid biomaterials and air), image quality increases to the point that the overall scan time can be reduced. This point is emphasized by analyzing the internal structure of porous materials such as coffee beans and other porous foods. The microstructure of a coffee bean changes throughout the roasting process where pressure builds inside the system due to steam and carbon dioxide gas formation. Pores expand, embrittling the surrounding structure. Pores can range in size from the mesoscale (due to the bean itself cracking open) down to the microscale (as many of the pores are formed from the cell walls of the bean). The high contrast between the pores and the surrounding material using the Exciscope Polaris makes identification, rendering, and segmentation easier.

3D rendering and 2D virtual slice of a Monsoon Malabar medium roast coffee bean

Flexible enough for complex products

The vast majority of packaging materials are made from low-z (low absorbing) materials, which makes them an ideal candidate for phase-contrast imaging. Additionally, many products and packaging materials have moved from simple one-material designs to complex structures and composites of multiple materials. One example is milk packaging containers, which now contain paper, polymer linings, aluminum foil, and epoxies at the joints. Exciscope Polaris is versatile enough to simultaneously resolve these different components with high contrast. In addition, the multiple detector options allow for multi-scale analysis from the meso-scale down to individual paper fibers of only a few microns in diameter.

Phase contrast CT scan of a milk package joint. A virtual slice (top) shows clear delineation of the different layers, while another high-res slice (bottom left) shows individual fibers of the paper component. A 3D rendering (bottom right) has also been created.

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