New method to create ultrafast 3-D images of nanostructures

New method to create ultrafast 3-D images of nanostructures
The representation shows the basic elements of the experiment. The object (cut out cross in the centre of the image) is illuminated from two directions by an X-ray laser pulse. In the next step, the star-shaped diffraction images are reconstructed into a 3-D object (bottom left). Credit: Dr. Hamed Merdji, CEA-Saclay

Lensless microscopy with X-rays, or coherent diffractive imaging, is a promising approach. It allows researchers to analyse complex three-dimensional structures, which frequently exist in nature, from a dynamic perspective. Whilst two-dimensional images can already be generated quickly and in an efficient manner, creating 3-D images still presents a challenge. Generally, three-dimensional images of an object are computed from hundreds of individual images. This takes a significant amount of time, as well as large amounts of data and high radiation values.

A team of researchers from Leibniz University Hannover and other universities has now succeeded in accelerating this process considerably. The researchers developed a method in which two images of an object can be taken from two different directions using a single laser pulse. The images are then combined to form a spatial image – similar to the forming a stereo image from two slightly different images of both eyes. The method of computer-assisted stereoscopic vision is already used in the fields of machine vision and robotics. Now researchers have used the method in X-ray imaging for the first time.

"Our method enables 3-D reconstructions on a nanometric scale using a single image which consists of two images from two different perspectives," says Professor Milutin Kovacev from the Institute of Quantum Optics at Leibniz University Hannover, who is one of the co-authors of the study.

According to the authors, the will have a significant impact on 3-D structural imaging of individual macromolecules and could be used in biology, medicine, as well as in the industry. For example, the of a virus could be analysed faster and with very little effort. The protein structure has an immense influence on the function and behaviour of a virus and plays a decisive role in medical diagnoses.

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More information: J. Duarte et al. Computed stereo lensless X-ray imaging, Nature Photonics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0419-1
Journal information: Nature Photonics

Provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover
Citation: New method to create ultrafast 3-D images of nanostructures (2019, April 16) retrieved 24 June 2021 from
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