Prehistoric beetle, 3-D crystal engraving

Prehistoric beetle, 3-D crystal engraving

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This image is part of the feature 50 Years Of The Laser
This image is part of the feature 21st Century Machine Shines Light Onto A Fossil World


Caption: Prehistoric beetle, 3-D crystal engraving. This enlarged model of a prehistoric beetle was created by a subsurface laser engraving machine. The beetle (order Coleoptera) was found in 100-million-year-old opaque amber (fossilised conifer plant resin) from the Charente-Maritime region in France. The fossil was X-rayed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The X-rays produced here are one thousand billion times brighter than hospital X-rays and can image the interior of opaque amber samples at very high resolution. Multiple scans of the sample creates virtual 'slices' that can be reconstructed into 3-D computer models, printed into plastic models or engraved into glass blocks.

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