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1.  Single-image phase retrieval using an edge illumination X-ray phase-contrast imaging setup 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2015;22(Pt 4):1072-1077.
A method enabling the retrieval of thickness or projected electron density of a sample from a single input image is derived theoretically and successfully demonstrated on experimental data.
A method is proposed which enables the retrieval of the thickness or of the projected electron density of a sample from a single input image acquired with an edge illumination phase-contrast imaging setup. The method assumes the case of a quasi-homogeneous sample, i.e. a sample with a constant ratio between the real and imaginary parts of its complex refractive index. Compared with current methods based on combining two edge illumination images acquired in different configurations of the setup, this new approach presents advantages in terms of simplicity of acquisition procedure and shorter data collection time, which are very important especially for applications such as computed tomography and dynamical imaging. Furthermore, the fact that phase information is directly extracted, instead of its derivative, can enable a simpler image interpretation and be beneficial for subsequent processing such as segmentation. The method is first theoretically derived and its conditions of applicability defined. Quantitative accuracy in the case of homogeneous objects as well as enhanced image quality for the imaging of complex biological samples are demonstrated through experiments at two synchrotron radiation facilities. The large range of applicability, the robustness against noise and the need for only one input image suggest a high potential for investigations in various research subjects.
PMCID: PMC4489537  PMID: 26134813
X-ray imaging; phase-contrast imaging; phase retrieval; image formation theory
2.  Fly-scan ptychography 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9074.
We report an experimental ptychography measurement performed in fly-scan mode. With a visible-light laser source, we demonstrate a 5-fold reduction of data acquisition time. By including multiple mutually incoherent modes into the incident illumination, high quality images were successfully reconstructed from blurry diffraction patterns. This approach significantly increases the throughput of ptychography, especially for three-dimensional applications and the visualization of dynamic systems.
PMCID: PMC4357920  PMID: 25766519
3.  Atomic Diffusion within Individual Gold Nanocrystal 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6765.
Due to their excess surface free energy and structural instabilities, nanoparticles exhibit interesting physical and chemical properties. There has been an ever-growing interest in investigating these properties, driven by the desire to further miniaturize electronic devices, develop new functional materials and catalysts. Here, the intriguing question of how diffusion evolves in a single nanoparticle is investigated by measuring the spatial and temporal variations of the diffracted coherent X-ray intensity during copper diffusion into a gold nanocrystal. Dislocation loops formed from the insertion of single layer of extra atoms between neighbouring gold host lattice planes are detected. Au-Cu alloy channels are found to penetrate the nanocrystal due to the differential diffusion rate along different directions. With the advent of higher brilliance sources and free-electron-lasers, Bragg Coherent X-ray Diffraction Imaging can play an important role in unveiling atomic behaviours in three dimensions for nanomaterials during various fundamental processes.
PMCID: PMC4208027  PMID: 25341377
4.  Brownian motion studies of viscoelastic colloidal gels by rotational single particle tracking 
IUCrJ  2014;1(Pt 3):172-178.
The method of rotational X-ray tracking is used to probe the microradian rotational motion of individual crystalline colloids in a colloidal gel to determine the viscous and elastic properties.
Colloidal gels have unique properties due to a complex microstructure which forms into an extended network. Although the bulk properties of colloidal gels have been studied, there has been difficulty correlating those properties with individual colloidal dynamics on the microscale due to the very high viscosity and elasticity of the material. We utilize rotational X-ray tracking (RXT) to investigate the rotational motion of component crystalline colloidal particles in a colloidal gel of alumina and decanoic acid. Our investigation has determined that the high elasticity of the bulk is echoed by a high elasticity experienced by individual colloidal particles themselves but also finds an unexpected high degree of rotational diffusion, indicating a large degree of freedom in the rotational motion of individual colloids even within a tightly bound system.
PMCID: PMC4086434  PMID: 25075336
rotational X-ray tracking; rotational dynamics; colloidal gels
5.  ‘Taking X-ray phase contrast imaging into mainstream applications’ and its satellite workshop ‘Real and reciprocal space X-ray imaging’ 
A double event, supported as part of the Royal Society scientific meetings, was organized in February 2013 in London and at Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire by Dr A. Olivo and Prof. I. Robinson. The theme that joined the two events was the use of X-ray phase in novel imaging approaches, as opposed to conventional methods based on X-ray attenuation. The event in London, led by Olivo, addressed the main roadblocks that X-ray phase contrast imaging (XPCI) is encountering in terms of commercial translation, for clinical and industrial applications. The main driver behind this is the development of new approaches that enable XPCI, traditionally a synchrotron method, to be performed with conventional laboratory sources, thus opening the way to its deployment in clinics and industrial settings. The satellite meeting at Chicheley Hall, led by Robinson, focused on the new scientific developments that have recently emerged at specialized facilities such as third-generation synchrotrons and free-electron lasers, which enable the direct measurement of the phase shift induced by a sample from intensity measurements, typically in the far field. The two events were therefore highly complementary, in terms of covering both the more applied/translational and the blue-sky aspects of the use of phase in X-ray research. optics, image processing
PMCID: PMC3900040  PMID: 24470423
6.  11 nm hard X-ray focus from a large-aperture multilayer Laue lens 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3562.
The focusing performance of a multilayer Laue lens (MLL) with 43.4 μm aperture, 4 nm finest zone width and 4.2 mm focal length at 12 keV was characterized with X-rays using ptychography method. The reconstructed probe shows a full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) peak size of 11.2 nm. The obtained X-ray wavefront shows excellent agreement with the dynamical calculations, exhibiting aberrations less than 0.3 wave period, which ensures the MLL capable of producing a diffraction-limited focus while offering a sufficient working distance. This achievement opens up opportunities of incorporating a variety of in-situ experiments into ultra high-resolution X-ray microscopy studies.
PMCID: PMC3868962  PMID: 24356395
7.  Three-dimensional Imaging of Crystalline Inclusions Embedded in Intact Maize Stalks 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2843.
Mineral inclusions in biomass are attracting increased scrutiny due to their potential impact on processing methods designed to provide renewable feedstocks for the production of chemicals and fuels. These inclusions are often sculpted by the plant into shapes required to support functional roles that include the storage of specific elements, strengthening of the plant structure, and providing a defense against pathogens and herbivores. In situ characterization of these inclusions faces substantial challenges since they are embedded in an opaque, complex polymeric matrix. Here we describe the use of Bragg coherent diffraction imaging (BCDI) to study mineral inclusions within intact maize stalks. Three-dimensional BCDI data sets were collected and used to reconstruct images of mineral inclusions at 50–100 nm resolution. Asymmetries in the intensity distributions around the Bragg peaks provided detailed information about the deformation fields within these crystal particles revealing lattice defects that result in distinct internal crystal domains.
PMCID: PMC3789445  PMID: 24091898
8.  Three-Dimensional Structure Analysis and Percolation Properties of a Barrier Marine Coating 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1177.
Artificially structured coatings are widely employed to minimize materials deterioration and corrosion, the annual direct cost of which is over 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for industrial countries. Manufacturing higher performance anticorrosive coatings is one of the most efficient approaches to reduce this loss. However, three-dimensional (3D) structure of coatings, which determines their performance, has not been investigated in detail. Here we present a quantitative nano-scale analysis of the 3D spatial structure of an anticorrosive aluminium epoxy barrier marine coating obtained by serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBFSEM) and ptychographic X-ray computed tomography (PXCT). We then use finite element simulations to demonstrate how percolation through this actual 3D structure impedes ion diffusion in the composite materials. We found the aluminium flakes align within 15° of the coating surface in the material, causing the perpendicular diffusion resistance of the coating to be substantially higher than the pure epoxy.
PMCID: PMC3558722  PMID: 23378910
9.  Three-dimensional Bragg coherent diffraction imaging of an extended ZnO crystal1  
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2012;45(Pt 4):778-784.
A complex three-dimensional quantitative image of an extended zinc oxide crystal has been obtained using Bragg coherent diffraction imaging integrated with ptychography.
A complex three-dimensional quantitative image of an extended zinc oxide (ZnO) crystal has been obtained using Bragg coherent diffraction imaging integrated with ptychography. By scanning a 2.5 µm-long arm of a ZnO tetrapod across a 1.3 µm X-ray beam with fine step sizes while measuring a three-dimensional diffraction pattern at each scan spot, the three-dimensional electron density and projected displacement field of the entire crystal were recovered. The simultaneously reconstructed complex wavefront of the illumination combined with its coherence properties determined by a partial coherence analysis implemented in the reconstruction process provide a comprehensive characterization of the incident X-ray beam.
PMCID: PMC3401992  PMID: 22829708
three-dimensional quantitative imaging; coherent diffraction imaging; ptychography; zinc oxide
10.  Patients' perspectives on self-testing of oral anticoagulation therapy: Content analysis of patients' internet blogs 
Patients on oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) require regular testing of the prothrombin time (PT) and the international normalised ratio (INR) to monitor their blood coagulation level to avoid complications of either over or under coagulation. PT/INR can be tested by a healthcare professional or by the patient. The latter mode of the testing is known as patient self-testing or home testing. The objective of this study was to elicit patients' perspectives and experiences regarding PT/INR self-testing using portable coagulometer devices.
Internet blog text mining was used to collect 246 blog postings by 108 patients, mainly from the USA and the UK. The content of these qualitative data were analysed using XSight and NVivo software packages.
The key themes in relation to self-testing of OAT identified were as follows: Patient benefits reported were time saved, personal control, choice, travel reduction, cheaper testing, and peace of mind. Equipment issues included high costs, reliability, quality, and learning how to use the device. PT/INR issues focused on the frequency of testing, INR fluctuations and individual target (therapeutic) INR level. Other themes noted were INR testing at laboratories, the interactions with healthcare professionals in managing and testing OAT and insurance companies' involvement in acquiring the self-testing equipment. Social issues included the pain and stress of taking and testing for OAT.
Patients' blogs on PT/INR testing provide insightful information that can help in understanding the nature of the experiences and perspectives of patients on self-testing of OAT. The themes identified in this paper highlight the substantial complexities involved in self-testing programmes in the healthcare system. Thus, the issues elicited in this study are very valuable for all stakeholders involved in developing effective self-testing strategies in healthcare that are gaining considerable current momentum particularly for patients with chronic illness.
PMCID: PMC3045880  PMID: 21291542
11.  Coherent diffraction imaging of nanoscale strain evolution in a single crystal under high pressure 
Nature Communications  2013;4:1680-.
The evolution of morphology and internal strain under high pressure fundamentally alters the physical property, structural stability, phase transition and deformation mechanism of materials. Until now, only averaged strain distributions have been studied. Bragg coherent X-ray diffraction imaging is highly sensitive to the internal strain distribution of individual crystals but requires coherent illumination, which can be compromised by the complex high-pressure sample environment. Here we report the successful de-convolution of these effects with the recently developed mutual coherent function method to reveal the three-dimensional strain distribution inside a 400 nm gold single crystal during compression within a diamond-anvil cell. The three-dimensional morphology and evolution of the strain under pressures up to 6.4 GPa were obtained with better than 30 nm spatial resolution. In addition to providing a new approach for high-pressure nanotechnology and rheology studies, we draw fundamental conclusions about the origin of the anomalous compressibility of nanocrystals.
Extreme pressure can induce significant changes in a material’s mechanical response, but characterizing the evolution of these changes as they take place is challenging. Yang et al. demonstrate the use of coherent X-ray diffraction imaging to follow changes in the three-dimensional shape and strain fields within gold particles under pressure.
PMCID: PMC3644065  PMID: 23575684
12.  Coherent X-Ray Diffraction Imaging and Characterization of Strain in Silicon-on-Insulator Nanostructures 
Coherent X-ray diffraction imaging (CDI) has emerged in the last decade as a promising high resolution lens-less imaging approach for the characterization of various samples. It has made significant technical progress through developments in source, algorithm and imaging methodologies thus enabling important scientific breakthroughs in a broad range of disciplines. In this report, we will introduce the principles of forward scattering CDI and Bragg geometry CDI (BCDI), with an emphasis on the latter. BCDI exploits the ultra-high sensitivity of the diffraction pattern to the distortions of crystalline lattice. Its ability of imaging strain on the nanometer scale in three dimensions is highly novel. We will present the latest progress on the application of BCDI in investigating the strain relaxation behavior in nanoscale patterned strained silicon-on-insulator (sSOI) materials, aiming to understand and engineer strain for the design and implementation of new generation semiconductor devices.
PMCID: PMC4282757  PMID: 24955950
coherent X-ray diffraction Imaging; silicon-on-Insulator; strain; ultrathin layer; nanowire
13.  Threat to Hospital Privileges 
British Medical Journal  1968;1(5586):247.
PMCID: PMC1984802

Results 1-13 (13)