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Education and Outreach Programs

Oak Lawn Community High School ESRP 2015

Comparing Fossil Spiders To Modern Samples Using X-Ray Tomography


  • Students:
    • Ahmad Abdulla
    • Noah Goebel
    • Kali Graziano
    • Dana Greene
    • David Nejdl
    • Emmet Nugent
    • Sean Nugent
    • Juliet Torres
  • Teachers:
    • Matt Figus
    • Christopher Repa
  • Mentors:
    • Carmen Soriano Hoyuelos (Argonne National Laboratory, XSD)

Advanced Photon Source Sector 2: Microscopy

The goal of the experiment was to analyze the efficiency of amber preserving anatomy of spiders. This goal was possible by using synchrotron X-ray tomography. The X-ray synchrotron imaging technique provided detailed 3D images that allowed the group to virtually dissect the spider samples (genus Corythalia and Nephila) and determine preservational differences. The availability of modern and prehistoric Corythalia and Nephila samples allowed the group to evaluate the effectiveness of the amber as a preservation medium. The samples were scanned in their entirety at low resolution (3 um), and areas of interest were then scanned at a high resolution (0.75 um). Each low resolution scan took approximately 1 hour and each high resolution scan lasted approximately 30 minutes for each area of the spider samples. The use of the synchrotron device at the Advanced Photon Source showed enhanced details unable to be achieved through other conventional methods, such as a microscope.

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