Irene Zanette


Irene Zanette is a Post Doctoral Research Assistant on beamline I13.  Irene joined Diamond in January 2015 after working as Post Doctoral Researcher at Technische Universität München, Germany.

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 77 8299

Key Research Area


  1. Research
  2. Collaborations
  3. Publications (top 10)
  4. Biography
Research -
My research interest are X-ray phase-contrast imaging, X-ray micro- and nano-tomography, and wavefront sensing and optics characterisation.
X-ray phase-contrast imaging is a powerful method to access structures invisible with conventional absorption contrast. This method relies on the high sensitivity of the phase information, usually obtained through interference of the x-ray waves, to generate the image contrast. In this way details with small density differences, such as cancerous areas within healthy tissue, become clearly visible. At higher spatial resolutions, x-ray phase-contrast imaging provides unprecedented insight into the three-dimensional nanostructure of natural and manmade materials. These techniques are sophisticated methods requiring coherent and brilliant x-rays, and perform best at synchrotron facilities such as Diamond Light Source.
At beamline I13, I am implementing advanced x-ray phase-contrast imaging techniques, such as grating interferometry, speckle based imaging, and ptychography. These methods are applied to interesting problems mainly in the biomedical and materials science areas.
Collaborations - +
X-ray phase-contrast imaging of biomaterials in collaboration with the Biomaterials Science Center, University of Basel, Switzerland, group led by Prof. Bert Mueller. 



Advanced X-ray optics for X-ray phase-contrast imaging in colaboration with the Laboratory for Micro and Nanotechnology, Paul Scherrer Insitut, Villigen, Switzerland, group led by Dr. Christian David.


Algorithms for X-ray phase-contrast imaging. Collaboration with the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany, group led by Prof. Franz Pfeiffer, and with the University College London, group led by Dr. Pierre Thibault.

Open source software is available at:





Publications (top 10) - +
  • Zanette, I., Enders, B., Dierolf, M., Thibault, P., Gradl, R., Diaz, A., Guizar-Sicairos, M., Menzel, A., Pfeiffer, F. & Zaslansky, P. (2015), "Ptychographic X-ray nanotomography quantifies mineral distributions in human dentine", Scientific Reports. Vol. 5, pp. 9210.
  • Stockmar, M., Zanette, I., Dierolf, M., Enders, B., Clare, R., Pfeiffer, F., Cloetens, P., Bonnin, A. & Thibault, P. (2015), "X-Ray Near-Field Ptychography for Optically Thick Specimens", Physical Review Applied. Vol. 3, pp. 014005.
  • Zanette, I., Zhou, T., Burvall, A., Lundström, U., Larsson, D.H., Zdora, M., Thibault, P., Pfeiffer, F. & Hertz, H.M. (2014), "Speckle-Based X-Ray Phase-Contrast and Dark-Field Imaging with a Laboratory Source", Physical Review Letters. Vol. 112(25), pp. 253903.
  • Zanette, I., Lang, S., Rack, A., Dominietto, M., Langer, M., Pfeiffer, F., Weitkamp, T. & Müller, B. (2013), "Holotomography versus X-ray grating interferometry: A comparative study", Applied Physics Letters. Vol. 103(24), pp. 244105.
  • Stockmar, M., Cloetens, P., Zanette, I., Enders, B., Dierolf, M., Pfeiffer, F. & Thibault, P. (2013), "Near-field ptychography: phase retrieval for inline holography using a structured illumination", Scientific Reports. Vol. 3, pp. 1927.
  • Zanette, I., Bech, M., Rack, A., Le Duc, G., Tafforeau, P., David, C., Mohr, J., Pfeiffer, F. & Weitkamp, T. (2012), "Trimodal low-dose X-ray tomography", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol. 109(26), pp. 10199-10204.
  • Schulz, G., Waschkies, C., Pfeiffer, F., Zanette, I., Weitkamp, T., David, C. & Mueller, B. (2012), "Multimodal imaging of human cerebellum - merging X-ray phase microtomography, magnetic resonance microscopy and histology", Scientific Reports. Vol. 2, pp. 826.
  • Rutishauser, S., Zanette, I., Weitkamp, T., Donath, T. & David, C. (2011), "At-wavelength characterization of refractive x-ray lenses using a two-dimensional grating interferometer", Applied Physics Letters. Vol. 99(22), pp. 221104.
  • Zanette, I., Bech, M., Pfeiffer, F. & Weitkamp, T. (2011), "Interlaced phase stepping in phase-contrast x-ray tomography", Applied Physics Letters. Vol. 98(9), pp. 094101.
  • Zanette, I., Weitkamp, T., Donath, T., Rutishauser, S. & David, C. (2010), "Two-Dimensional X-Ray Grating Interferometer", Physical Review Letters. Vol. 105, pp. 248102.
Biography - +

Irene received her master degree 'cum laude' in Physics from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2007. She performed her doctoral studies at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France on X-ray grating interferometry. After obtaining her PhD in Nov. 2011 she moved to Germany, at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), were she worked as a Postdoctoral reseacher in biomedical physics in the group led by Prof. Franz Pfeiffer. During the years at TUM she also enjoyed teaching "Modern X-ray Physics" and "Image Processing in Physics" to master students. Her contributions to the field of X-ray imaging have been recognized by two important awards, both in 2012: the Werner Meyer-Ilse Award for Excellence in X-ray Microscopy, and the ESRF Young Scientist Award.