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Phase-contrast imaging

Phase-contrast imaging is a method of imaging that has a range of different applications. It exploits differences in the refractive index of different materials to differentiate between structures under analysis. In conventional light microscopy, phase contrast can be employed to distinguish between structures of similar transparency, and to examine crystals on the basis of their double refraction. This has uses in biological, medical and geological science. In X-ray tomography, the same physical principles can be used to increase image contrast by highlighting small details of differing refractive index within structures that are otherwise uniform. In transmission electron microscopy (TEM), phase contrast enables very high resolution (HR) imaging, making it possible to distinguish features a few Angstrom apart (at this point highest resolution is 40 pm).

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