Boosting phase contrast with a grating Bonse–Hart interferometer of 200 nanometre grating period

Han Wen, Andrew A. Gomella, Ajay Patel, Douglas E. Wolfe, Susanna K. Lynch, Xianghui Xiao, Nicole Morgan

Abstract

We report on a grating Bonse–Hart interferometer for phase-contrast imaging with hard X-rays. The method overcomes limitations in the level of sensitivity that can be achieved with the well-known Talbot grating interferometer, and without the stringent spectral filtering at any given incident angle imposed by the classic Bonse–Hart interferometer. The device operates in the far-field regime, where an incident beam is split by a diffraction grating into two widely separated beams, which are redirected by a second diffraction grating to merge at a third grating, where they coherently interfere. The wide separation of the interfering beams results in large phase contrast, and in some cases absolute phase images are obtained. Imaging experiments were performed using diffraction gratings of 200 nm period, at 22.5 keV and 1.5% spectral bandwidth on a bending-magnetic beamline. Novel design and fabrication process were used to achieve the small grating period. Using a slitted incident beam, we acquired absolute and differential phase images of lightly absorbing samples. An advantage of this method is that it uses only phase modulating gratings, which are easier to fabricate than absorption gratings of the same periods.

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