X-ray phase-contrast microscopy and microtomography
In-line phase contrast enables weakly absorbing specimens to be imaged successfully with x-rays, and greatly enhances the visibility of fine scale structure in more strongly absorbing specimens. This type of phase contrast requires a spatially coherent beam, a condition that can be met by a microfocus x-ray source. We have developed an x-ray microscope, based on such a source, which is capable of high resolution phase-contrast imaging and tomography. Phase retrieval enables quantitative information to be recovered from phase-contrast microscope images of homogeneous samples of known composition and density, and improves the quality of tomographic reconstructions.