Virtual X-ray Laboratories

The Virtual Web-accessible X-ray Laboratory (ATeL-XRL) is being developed to address the challenges and demands of traditional, distance and blended education and satisfies learning habits of today's students. Using virtual X-ray equipment and cyberinfrastructure, students are able to perform authentic X-ray laboratory assignments online. ATeL-XRL provides students with opportunities to practice concepts, tasks, and equipment operation in a manner that often cannot be achieved using physical equipment.
The ATeL-XRL may prepare students to efficient hands-on practice in actual laboratories or substitute physical equipment in a crisis situation, like COVID-19 pandemic, or when the equipment is inaccessible because of various reasons.
The ATeL-XRL virtual equipment realistically imitates the functionality and design of actual X-ray equipment and includes educational analytical software, as well as a wide variety of supplemental educational resources. Virtual data, acquired in the experiments, can be exported to popular analytical software packages.
Unique features:
  • A large and assorted collection of a wide variety of virtual samples for analyses. An instructor can add his/her own XRPD patterns obtained from physical experiments using major brands of real XRPD diffractometers or patterns simulated based on known crystal structure data.
  • Utilities to generate virtual samples from X-Ray samples pattern using (d, I) data sets, CSD-data, for different crystallite stress/sizes and various radiations, including a synchrotron radiation.
  • Learning personalization and tailoring to particular curriculum needs. An authoring tool embedded into LMS enables instructors to create new online experiments and adjust existing ones.
  • LMS helps instructors to keep track of student performance, split students on small collaborative groups.
  • Cloud-based and browser accessible applications can be run from anywhere on any PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones under various operating systems and browsers.
The Virtual X-ray laboratory is being developed to address the following challenges:
  • Today's online engineering, technology and natural sciences courses do not provide hands-on experimentation which is an integral and necessary part of any traditional science or engineering curricula.
  • Limited availability of advanced research equipment for educational purposes. (Modern equipment is very expensive, unique, and complex).
  • Many students have poor understanding of operational principles and underlying phenomena, as well as factors affecting data accuracy due to the fact that contemporary x-ray equipment is typically fully computerized and most tasks are executed without students' participation. Consequentially, students cannot correctly estimate reliability of the results and method limitations.
  • Low adaptability of web-based interactive virtual resources and impossibility to reuse and tailor them to a specific course, learning objectives, students' level and background, etc.
  • Some x-ray experiments are very time consuming and/or involve very slow processes requiring more time that can be allocated to studying the corresponding subjects.