X-ray ptychography


X-ray ptychographic microscopy combines the advantages of raster scanning X-ray microscopy with the more recently developed techniques of coherent diffraction imaging. It is limited neither by the fabricational challenges associated with X-ray optics nor by the requirements of isolated specimen preparation, and offers in principle wavelength-limited resolution, as well as stable access and solution to the phase problem. In this Review, we discuss the basic principles of X-ray ptychography and summarize the main milestones in the evolution of X-ray ptychographic microscopy and tomography over the past ten years, since its first demonstration with X-rays. We also highlight the potential for applications in the life and materials sciences, and discuss the latest advanced concepts and probable future developments.

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Fig. 1: X-ray ptychography as a combination of conventional STXM and CDI.
Fig. 2: Schematic representation of the most basic ptychography algorithm, and exemplary results from an advanced object and probe retrieval approach.
Fig. 3: Advanced X-ray ptychography concepts.
Fig. 4: Application examples (3D renderings) of results obtained by ptychographic X-ray computed tomography.
Fig. 5: Application examples of advanced X-ray ptychography concepts.


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We acknowledge financial support from the German Science Foundation (DFG) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz programme, and M. Dierolf for fruitful discussions and supplying material for Fig. 2a.

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Correspondence to Franz Pfeiffer.

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Pfeiffer, F. X-ray ptychography. Nature Photon 12, 9–17 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-017-0072-5

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