Zernike phase contrast in scanning microscopy with X-rays

Christian Holzner*, Michael Feser, Stefan Vogt, Benjamin Hornberger, Stephen B. Baines, Chris Jacobsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Scanning X-ray microscopy focuses radiation to a small spot and probes the sample by raster scanning. It allows information to be obtained from secondary signals such as X-ray fluorescence, which yields an elemental mapping of the sample not available in full-field imaging. The analysis and interpretation from these secondary signals can be considerably enhanced if these data are coupled with structural information from transmission imaging. However, absorption often is negligible and phase contrast has not been easily available. Originally introduced with visible light, Zernike phase contrast 1 is a well-established technique in full-field X-ray microscopes for visualization of weakly absorbing samples 2-7 . On the basis of reciprocity, we demonstrate the implementation of Zernike phase contrast in scanning X-ray microscopy, revealing structural detail simultaneously with hard-X-ray trace-element measurements. The method is straightforward to implement without significant influence on the resolution of the fluorescence images and delivers complementary information. We show images of biological specimens that clearly demonstrate the advantage of correlating morphology with elemental information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-887
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Zernike phase contrast in scanning microscopy with X-rays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this