Shared-Use Facilities

The MCZ has several available facilities that support museum research and collection use including the Digital Imaging Facility (DIF) in the MCZ Labs building and a Micro-CT Scanning Facility in the Harvard University Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE).

Digital Imaging Facility


The DIF consists of a micro-CT system, digital x-ray system, automontage system, and digital photography station with copystand and camera.

The digital x-ray is capable of quickly producing images of internal structures of specimens, with good resolution and minimal background noise. The Keyence digital microscope system combines focal plane reconstruction with a suite of powerful image analysis functions. The digital photography station is useful for a broad range of applications with larger specimens.The micro-CT system is a powerful tool for three-dimensional imaging, analysis and characterization of biological specimens.

The facility is open to MCZ researchers and staff upon the completion of training (contact MCZ Collections Operations). For the Keyence digital microscope and the photo station, outside users may be sponsored and supervised by an MCZ lab or department, and must be accompanied by trained MCZ personnel to use the equipment.  MCZ users have first priority on use of the equipment.

For IT security reasons, users must have FAS Research Computing username/password credentials in order to be able to log on to either the micro-CT or 3D analysis computers. To request an account with Research Computing, visit the Research Computing website. Please have these credentials in place before training. 

Users of the system are responsible for reading the relevant hardware and software manuals. These are collected together and available in a downloadable ZIP file upon training. Scheduling for both the micro-CT system and the 3D analysis workstation is handled through an online scheduling tool, which is accessed with a user’s Research Computing credentials; details are given during training.

Please read the usage policies for MCZ and non-MCZ users.


Micro-CT Scan Facility at LISE


The micro-CT scanner is managed by the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) located at the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE). Use of the scanner facility requires registering and training with CNS.

For MCZ users that plan to examine specimens housed in ethanol, the LISE Building Safety Officer offers the following recommendations:

  • Transport the specimens to and from the LISE building in a leak proof secondary container.
  • Store any and all specimen containers in a flammable storage cabinet in the South Material Synthesis area (near the CT x-ray tool). Do not exceed 15 gallons of ethanol.
  • Before placing the specimen in the x-ray cabinet make sure all solution is removed from specimen accordingly:
    • Using safety glasses and chemical resistant gloves remove the specimen from the container and hold it over the container to let excess liquid drip back into the container;
    • Using a dry wipe remove any liquid from the specimen;
    • Place ethanol contaminated wipes in a flip top receptacle in the area (is not considered hazardous waste unless rag is soaked in ethanol);
    • Place the specimen in a leak proof secondary container before putting in the x-ray cabinet, and keep the specimen in the secondary container during x-ray process.