We invited Dr. Charles Wood, Senior Scientific Officer in X-Ray Microscopy and the Zeiss Global Centre Facility Manager and CoMic Network Leader to tell us more about the new network that has been set up at the University of Portsmouth.

What is the University of Portsmouth Correlative Microscopy (CoMic) Network?

CoMic is an open network, supported by the Zeiss Global Centre, for those applying correlative techniques to characterise a range of materials and processes across numerous scientific disciplines. 

What is Correlative Microscopy?

Correlative microscopy combines the strengths of different characterisation techniques to provide more information than a single technique alone. Traditionally it refers to the correlation of information acquired from different imaging techniques, such as electron, optical, and X-ray microscopy, as well as MRI, neutron, positron and others. Increasingly it is being used to refer to the correlation of imaging with spectroscopy and scattering methods too. It is such an incredibly rich area of research, with a focus also on the hardware and software used to acquire, process, and analyse data.

Figure 1

Who is it for?

Anyone who uses correlative microscopy for their research, but also those wishing to use correlative microscopy more in their current or future research. Members are encouraged to communicate their knowledge and experience. It’s a great place for interdisciplinary themes to be explored, ideas to be shared, and new concepts to be learned. 

What do you hope to achieve running the network?

Primarily to raise awareness of correlative microscopy. It’s surprising how many researchers are still unfamiliar with the vast benefits correlative workflows have to offer. The more members in the network, the richer our shared pool of resources. By raising awareness, the CoMic network hopes to facilitate novel and high-quality research.

What events do you hope to run as part of this?

Each month UoP CoMic holds research meetings. Two speakers provide a 30-minute talk on the use of correlative microscopy in their research, followed by a short Q&A session. It’s not compulsory that an individual presentation contain correlative aspects, but the meeting as a whole should be representative of this.  

The CoMic networks aims to organise a workshop each year, where previous speakers are invited back, new speakers can showcase their work, and things like competitions for best posters can take place. As part of these annual events, CoMic will also aim to provide relevant training days, for example in machine learning or digital volume correlation, and provide opportunities for industry engagement, building on the Zeiss Global Centre world-leading platform in such areas. You’ll also find CoMic engaging in outreach activities at open days and similar public events. 

How can I find out more about joining?

To join the mailing list to take part in the monthly research meetings contact Dr. Charles Wood at charles.wood@port.ac.uk. A website will soon be launched with further details on general news items, upcoming talks, events, and papers. In the meantime, for those using Twitter, information can be found via the Twitter handle UoP_CoMic. 


Figure 1.

Citation: Bech, M., Tapfer, A., Velroyen, A. et al. In-vivo dark-field and phase-contrast x-ray imaging. Sci Rep 3, 3209 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep03209.
First in-vivo multi-contrast x-ray images of a mouse. (a) Conventional x-ray image based on attenuation. (b) Differential phase-contrast image based on x-ray refraction. (c) Dark-field image based on x-ray scattering. All three images are intrinsically perfectly registered as they are extracted from the same data recorded with a grating interferometer. Examples of regions of enhanced contrast are marked with arrows, showing the refraction of the trachea (b) and the scattering of the lungs (c). The white bars correspond to 1 cm.