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Nat Mater. 2008 Feb;7(2):134-7. doi: 10.1038/nmat2096. Epub 2008 Jan 20.

Hard-X-ray dark-field imaging using a grating interferometer.

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  • 1Paul Scherrer Institut, CH-5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland.


Imaging with visible light today uses numerous contrast mechanisms, including bright- and dark-field contrast, phase-contrast schemes and confocal and fluorescence-based methods. X-ray imaging, on the other hand, has only recently seen the development of an analogous variety of contrast modalities. Although X-ray phase-contrast imaging could successfully be implemented at a relatively early stage with several techniques, dark-field imaging, or more generally scattering-based imaging, with hard X-rays and good signal-to-noise ratio, in practice still remains a challenging task even at highly brilliant synchrotron sources. In this letter, we report a new approach on the basis of a grating interferometer that can efficiently yield dark-field scatter images of high quality, even with conventional X-ray tube sources. Because the image contrast is formed through the mechanism of small-angle scattering, it provides complementary and otherwise inaccessible structural information about the specimen at the micrometre and submicrometre length scale. Our approach is fully compatible with conventional transmission radiography and a recently developed hard-X-ray phase-contrast imaging scheme. Applications to X-ray medical imaging, industrial non-destructive testing and security screening are discussed.

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