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In near-field imaging with partially coherent x-rays, the phase shifting properties of the sample are encoded in the diffraction fringes that appear as an additional intensity modulation in the x-ray projection images. These Fresnel fringes are often regarded as purely an enhancement of the visibility at the interfaces. We show that retrieving the phase information contained in these patterns significantly advances the developments in fast micro-tomography. Improving temporal resolution without intensifying radiation damage implies a shortening of the exposure time rather than increasing the photon flux on the sample. Phase retrieval, to a large extent, compensates the consequent photon count moderation in the images, by fully exploiting the stronger refraction effect as compared with absorption. Two single-distance phase retrieval methods are evaluated for the case of an in situ 3 Hz micro-tomography of a rapidly evolving liquid foam, and an in vivo 6 Hz micro-tomography of a blowfly. A new dual-detector setup is introduced for simultaneous acquisition of two near-field diffraction patterns. Our goal is to couple high temporal, spatial and density resolution in a single imaging system in a dose-efficient manner, opening further options for dynamic four-dimensional studies. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Publication Date