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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1669. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2640.

Soft X-ray spectromicroscopy using ptychography with randomly phased illumination.

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Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK.


Ptychography is a form of scanning diffractive imaging that can successfully retrieve the modulus and phase of both the sample transmission function and the illuminating probe. An experimental difficulty commonly encountered in diffractive imaging is the large dynamic range of the diffraction data. Here we report a novel ptychographic experiment using a randomly phased X-ray probe to considerably reduce the dynamic range of the recorded diffraction patterns. Images can be reconstructed reliably and robustly from this setup, even when scatter from the specimen is weak. A series of ptychographic reconstructions at X-ray energies around the L absorption edge of iron demonstrates the advantages of this method for soft X-ray spectromicroscopy, which can readily provide chemical sensitivity without the need for optical refocusing. In particular, the phase signal is in perfect registration with the modulus signal and provides complementary information that can be more sensitive to changes in the local chemical environment.


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