Massively parallel X-ray holography

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Advances in the development of free-electron lasers offer the realistic prospect of nanoscale imaging on the timescale of atomic motions. We identify X-ray Fourier-transform holography1,2,3 as a promising but, so far, inefficient scheme to do this. We show that a uniformly redundant array4 placed next to the sample, multiplies the efficiency of X-ray Fourier transform holography by more than three orders of magnitude, approaching that of a perfect lens, and provides holographic images with both amplitude- and phase-contrast information. The experiments reported here demonstrate this concept by imaging a nano-fabricated object at a synchrotron source, and a bacterial cell with a soft-X-ray free-electron laser, where illumination by a single 15-fs pulse was successfully used in producing the holographic image. As X-ray lasers move to shorter wavelengths we expect to obtain higher spatial resolution ultrafast movies of transient states of matter.

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Figure 1: Experimental geometry and imaging.
Figure 2: Massively parallel holography at high resolutions.
Figure 3: Ultrafast holographic imaging with iterative phase extension beyond the nanofabrication limit of the URA.


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We are grateful to L. Fabris for discussions, the staff of FLASH and ALS for help, and to D.A. Fletcher for Spiroplasma samples. This work was supported by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Department of Energy contracts W-7405-Eng-48 and DE-AC52-07NA27344; the Advanced Light Source; the National Centre for Electron Microscopy; the Centre for X-ray Optics at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory under Department of Energy contract DE-AC02-05CH11231; the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre under Department of Energy contract DE-AC02-76-SF00515; the European Union (TUIXS); The Swedish Research Councils, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-Cluster of Excellence through the Munich-Centre for Advanced Photonics; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to M.B.; and the Sven and Lilly Lawskis Foundation of Sweden to M.M.S.

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S.M. conceived the experiment after a discussion with L. Fabris and H.N.C. A.E.S. prepared samples for ALS S. Boutet, M.J.B., J.W.S., and J.Y.L. prepared samples for FLASH. C.C., M.R.H., S.M., A.E.S., D.A.S., and J.C.H.S. designed and performed the experiment at ALS A.B., M.J.B., S. Bajt, S. Boutet, H.N.C., M.F., J.H., S.P.H.-R., S.M., and M.M.S. designed and performed the experiment at FLASH. S.M. and S. Boutet processed the data. J.H., M.R.H., S.M. and J.C.H.S. wrote the paper with contributions from all.

Correspondence to Stefano Marchesini.

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Marchesini, S., Boutet, S., Sakdinawat, A. et al. Massively parallel X-ray holography. Nature Photon 2, 560–563 (2008) doi:10.1038/nphoton.2008.154

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