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Computed stereo lensless X-ray imaging


Recovering the three-dimensional (3D) properties of artificial or biological systems using low X-ray doses is challenging as most techniques are based on computing hundreds of two-dimensional (2D) projections. The requirement for a low X-ray dose also prevents single-shot 3D imaging using ultrafast X-ray sources. Here we show that computed stereo vision concepts can be applied to X-rays. Stereo vision is important in the field of machine vision and robotics. We reconstruct two X-ray stereo views from coherent diffraction patterns and compute a nanoscale 3D representation of the sample from disparity maps. Similarly to brain perception, computed stereo vision algorithms use constraints. We demonstrate that phase-contrast images relax the disparity constraints, allowing occulted features to be revealed. We also show that by using nanoparticles as labels we can extend the applicability of the technique to complex samples. Computed stereo X-ray imaging will find application at X-ray free-electron lasers, synchrotrons and laser-based sources, and in industrial and medical 3D diagnosis methods.

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Fig. 1: Experimental setup and sample for single-acquisition 3D stereo imaging.
Fig. 2: Typical dual diffraction pattern and stereo reconstruction of the amplitude of the sample.
Fig. 3: Amplitude and phase computed stereo reconstructions.
Fig. 4: Three-dimensional stereo imaging of an arrangement of nanoparticles.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We acknowledge financial support from the European Union through the Future and Emerging Technologies Open H2020: Volumetric medical X-ray imaging at extremely low dose (VOXEL) and the integrated initiative of the European laser research infrastructure (LASERLAB-EUROPE; grant agreement no. 654148). Support from the French ministry of research through the 2013 Agence Nationale de Recherche grant ‘NanoImagine’, 2014 ‘Ultrafast lensless imaging with plasmonic enhanced XUV generation’ and 2016 ‘High repetition rate laser for lensless imaging in the XUV’; from the Centre National de Compétences en Nanosciences research programme through the NanoscopiX grant; from the Laboratoire d’Excelence Physique Atoms Lumière Matière (ANR-10-LABX-0039-PALM), through grant ‘Plasmon-X’ and ‘High repetition rate laser harmonics in crystals’; and from the Action de Soutien à la Technologie et à la Recherche en Essonne programme through the ‘NanoLight’ grant are also acknowledged. We acknowledge financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant KO 3798/4-11, and from Lower Saxony through ‘Quanten- und Nanometrologie’, project NanoPhotonik. We acknowledge M. Kholodtsova for support on the CDI data treatment and discussions. We acknowledge A. Barty and Y. Nishino for data and discussions.

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Authors and Affiliations



J.D., R.C., J.H., W.B., B.I. and H.M. carried out the experiment. The samples were produced by F.F., L.D. and W.B. H.C. provided the 2D images of the pyramid. Simulations were performed by J.D. and R.C. Data analysis was performed by J.D., R.C., J.H., B.I., M.K., M.F., H.C., W.B. and H.M. W.B., M.K. and H.M. proposed the physical concept. All authors discussed the results and contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to H. Merdji.

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Supplementary notes and figures.

Supplementary Video 1

Reconstruction of the cross.

Supplementary Video 2

Reconstruction of the nanopyramid.

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Duarte, J., Cassin, R., Huijts, J. et al. Computed stereo lensless X-ray imaging. Nat. Photonics 13, 449–453 (2019).

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