Three-dimensional high-resolution quantitative microscopy of extended crystals

Nat Commun. 2011 Nov 29;2:568. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1569.


Hard X-ray lens-less microscopy raises hopes for a non-invasive quantitative imaging, capable of achieving the extreme resolving power demands of nanoscience. However, a limit imposed by the partial coherence of third generation synchrotron sources restricts the sample size to the micrometer range. Recently, X-ray ptychography has been demonstrated as a solution for arbitrarily extending the field of view without degrading the resolution. Here we show that ptychography, applied in the Bragg geometry, opens new perspectives for crystalline imaging. The spatial dependence of the three-dimensional Bragg peak intensity is mapped and the entire data subsequently inverted with a Bragg-adapted phase retrieval ptychographical algorithm. We report on the image obtained from an extended crystalline sample, nanostructured from a silicon-on-insulator substrate. The possibility to retrieve, without transverse size restriction, the highly resolved three-dimensional density and displacement field will allow for the unprecedented investigation of a wide variety of crystalline materials, ranging from life science to microelectronics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't