Diffracting aperture based differential phase contrast for scanning X-ray microscopy

Burkhard Kaulich*, Francois Polack, Ulrich Neuhaeusler, Jean Susini, Enzo Di Fabrizio, Thomas Wilhein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


It is demonstrated that in a zone plate based scanning X-ray microscope, used to image low absorbing, heterogeneous matter at a mesoscopic scale, differential phase contrast (DPC) can be implemented without adding any additional optical component to the normal scheme of the microscope. The DPC mode is simply generated by an appropriate positioning and alignment of microscope apertures. Diffraction from the apertures produces a wave front with a non-uniform intensity. The signal recorded by a pinhole photo diode located in the intensity gradient is highly sensitive to phase changes introduced by the specimen to be recorded. The feasibility of this novel DPC technique was proven with the scanning X-ray microscope at the ID21 beamline of the European Synchrotron Radiation facility (ESRF) operated at 6 keV photon energy. We observe a differential phase contrast, similar to Nomarski's differential interference contrast for the light microscope, which results in a tremendous increase in image contrast of up to 20 % when imaging low absorbing specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1117
Number of pages7
JournalOptics Express
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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