Incoherent and non-interferometric lab-based x-ray phase contrast imaging: recent scientific developments and first pre-commercial prototypes

Start Date
18-12-2019 10:00
End Date
18-12-2019 11:00
Auditorium, Central Building
Speaker's name
Professor Alessandro Olivo
Speaker's institute
RAEng Chair in Emerging Technologies, University College London
Contact name
Eva Jahn
Host name
Alberto Bravin
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The potential of phase-based approaches to x-ray imaging is well known to a synchrotron audience, be it through the significantly enhanced visibility of low-absorbing details, or through “dark field” methods providing information on the sample on a lengthscale below the inherent resolution of the imaging system. An important “parallel” strand of research has been the translation of x-ray phase technology to conventional laboratories, aimed both at enabling a wider uptake by the research community, and at developing imaging systems that can be deployed outside research environments e.g. in hospitals and industries.

While most attempts in this sense are based either on using x-ray sources with some degree of spatial coherence (e.g. microfocal), or on increasing the spatial coherence of an extended source through appropriate collimation (e.g. “source gratings”), our group has been focusing on an alternative approach, in which the sample is illuminated incoherently. This “incoherent” approach is based on an adaptation to polychromatic and divergent x-ray beams (via apertured masks) of the “edge-illumination” principle developed at the Elettra Synchrotron in Italy in the late ‘90s. This talk will briefly review the method, mostly to explain how it allows achieving phase sensitivities comparable to that of coherent approaches while using unfiltered and uncollimated focal spots of up to 100 micron in size, then focus mostly on its recent implementations and new applications. The method’s flexibility, leading to easy adaptation to e.g. tomosynthesis, microscopy and micro-CT, will be discussed; finally, a series of applications to biomedicine and other fields will be presented, with particular focus on the prototyping activities currently underway in collaboration with various companies.

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