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Improved X-ray microscopic imaging
Date:2/6/2013

This release is available in German.

X-ray microscopy requires radiation of extremely high quality. In order to obtain sharp images instrument and sample must stay absolutely immobile even at the nanometer scale during the recording. Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland, have now developed a method that relaxes these hard restrictions. Even fluctuations in the material can be visualized. The renowned journal Nature now reports on their results.

For more than 100 years radiography meant: don't move! In order to visualize nanostructures such as biological cells, the porous structure of cement or storage fields of magnetic disks, the experimentators had to avoid any kind of vibration of X-ray microscope and sample. In addition, only a small percentage fraction of the incoming X-ray radiation could be used. Using special filters, they had to select exactly the fraction with the right properties for example, the right wavelength.

Contributions of different wavelengths separated

Pierre Thibault of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and Andreas Menzel, scientist at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland) have now developed an interpretation method that produces reliable images in spite of vibrations or fluctuations. The method is based on a technique called "ptychography", developed in the 1960s for electron microscopy. Thibault and Menzel's advancements now make it possible to distinguish effects originating from the contribution of different types of X-ray waves.

Fluctuations visualized

Probably the most significant result of the study is that it gives access to a whole class of objects that previously could hardly be investigated. "We now not only can compensate for the vibrations in the microscope," says Andreas
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Contact: Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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