X-ray phase contrast imaging (XPCI) has been one of the hottest topics in x-ray research over the last two decades, because of its potential to revolutionize diagnostic radiology and other medical applications of x-rays. However, translation into everyday clinical use has proven difficult. We believe that one of the main reasons for this is the fact that all XPCI methods proposed so far have been based on coherent approaches, which typically leads to flux limitations when implementations outside specialized facilities such as synchrotrons are pursued.
At UCL, we have developed an alternative approach, based on incoherent sample illumination. This was obtained through an adaptation (via apertured masks) of the “edge-illumination” principle to polychromatic and divergent x-ray beams generated by conventional sources. In this seminar, I will introduce the method, and discuss how it allows achieving phase sensitivity comparable to that of other coherent approaches while using unfiltered and uncollimated focal spots of up to 100 micron. I will discuss the method’s flexibility leading to easy adaptation to tomosynthesis, microscopy and micro-CT, and its extension to “dark-field” (sometimes referred to as “ultra-small angle scattering”) approaches. Finally, I will present a series of applications in medicine and other fields.