On November 28-30, 2018, researchers from the IKBFU International Research Centre “Coherent X-ray optics for Mega-science installations” (IKBFU) conducted experiments on high-resolution X-ray phase-contrast microscopy using parabolic axicons. The project “The X-ray phase contrast microscopy using a parabolic refractive axicon lens” (MI-1350) was initiated by the IKBFU International Research Centre. Later on, it was selected as a priority one by the IKBFU Council and was supported by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF, Grenoble, France).
Nowadays, X-ray microscopy, based on compound refractive lenses, is one of the most informative X-ray techniques of research. This method is used for non-destructive visualisation of the internal structure of objects. It allows researchers getting high-resolution images (up to several tens of nanometers).
The new method is based on the use of the X-ray axicon, which is capable of forming the phase gradient of X-ray waves passing through the sample. In this case, the formation of image contrast is determined by an additional mechanism based on the effect of interference of X-rays, which are transformed by the axicon. The suggested method of phase-contrast microscopy using parabolic axicons was demonstrated at the ID13 beamline (ESRF). As the result, images of various microstructures were obtained by traditional X-ray microscopy, as well as by using a new phase-contrast method. According to the IKBFU researchers, due to the use of axicons, images of the studied samples were significantly enlarged, in some cases sixfold.
This research is supported by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (14.Y26.31.0002).