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Lensless camera uses X-rays to view nanoscale materials and biological specimens
Date:2/19/2008

a few micrometers and larger, the usefulness of these instruments to probe its internal structure is limited. In many cases, only the surface of the sample can be studied, or the sample must be sliced to view its interior, which can be destructive.

A collaborative team comprising members of the X-ray Microscopy and Imaging Group at Argonnes Advanced Photon Source (APS) and a team led by Professor John Miao at the University of California at Los Angeles developed a powerful new extension of the new lensless imaging technique that enables high resolution imaging of a specific element buried inside a sample.

The key is the high intensity X-ray beams created at the APS at Argonne. An intense, coherent X-ray beam collides with the sample, creating a diffraction pattern which is recorded by a charge coupled device (CCD) camera. The X-ray energy is tuned to an atomic resonance of a target element in the sample. Using sophisticated phase-recovery algorithms, a computer reconstructs an image of the specimen that highlights the presence of the element. The result is an image of the internal architecture of the sample at nanometer resolution and without destructive slicing. By using X-ray energies that coincide with an atomic absorption edge, the imaging process can distinguish between different elements in the sample.

If the nucleus or other parts of a cell are labeled with protein specific tags, it can be imaged within whole cells at a resolution far greater than that of ordinary microscopes.

Another application of this new method of imaging includes the burgeoning field of nanoengineering, which endeavors to develop more efficient catalysts for the petrochemical and energy industries and materials with electrically programmable mechanical, thermal and other properties.

There are only a handful of places in the world this can be done and APS is the only place in the United States at these X-ray energies, X-ray Microscopy and Imag
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Contact: Brock Cooper
bcooper@anl.gov
630-252-5565
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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