Alumina as a Computed Tomography Soft Material and Tissue Fiducial Marker

S. E. Stephens, N. B. Ingels, J. F. Wenk, M. O. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The use of 3D imaging is becoming increasingly common, so too is the use of fiducial markers to identify/track regions of interest and assess material deformation. While many different materials have been used as fiducials, they are often used in isolation, with little comparison to one another. Objective: In the current study, we aim to directly compare different Computed Tomography (CT and μCT) fiducial materials, both metallic and nonmetallic. Methods: μCT imaging was performed on a soft-tissue structure, in this case heart valve tissue, with markers from eight different materials attached. Additionally, we evaluated the same markers with DiceCT stained tissue in a fluid medium. Results: All of the metallic markers generated significant artifacts, and were found unsuitable for soft-tissue μCT imaging, whereas alumina markers were found to perform the best, with excellent contrast and consistency. Conclusions: These findings support the further use of alumina as fiducial markers for soft material and tissue studies that utilize CT and μCT imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-884
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NIH NHLBI) grant # 1R15HL145585-01 and the Arkansas Research Alliance. Additional support was provided through NSF Grant Number NSF BCS-1725925 for the University of Arkansas μCT Imaging Consortium for Research and Outreach. The authors wish to thank Manon Wilson for her valuable assistance with scanning services and Mrs. Megan Laughlin for her assistance with the manuscript and figures.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Society for Experimental Mechanics.


  • Alumina
  • Aluminum oxide
  • CT
  • Fiducial
  • Marker
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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