Dark-field X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging

This week’s featured paper is the paper by Franz Pfeiffer and colleagues at Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland:

Hard-X-ray dark-field imaging using a grating interferometer, Nature Materials 7, 134 – 137 (2008) .

This Nature Materials paper is related to the previous papers by the same group: Pfeiffer et al., Phase retrieval and differential phase-contrast imaging with low-brilliance X-ray sources, Nature Physics 2, 258 – 261 (2006)

as well as Pfeiffer et al., Shearing Interferometer for Quantifying the Coherence of Hard X-Ray Beams, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 164801 (2005).

The use of shearing inteferometer, which to x-rays look like series of micron-sized “combs” or diffraction gratings, allows imaging of milimeter-sized objects using the differential phase contrast, rather than adsorption, as a contrast mechanism. These are the techniques that can be adopted using rather primitive “highly incoherent” in-house x-ray sources – such as x-ray tubes and rotating anodes, and therefore do not require a trip to a synchrotron.

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