Absorption contrast imaging is the most common imaging technique, and is the technique used in hospital X-ray imaging. An absorption contrast image is essentially a shadowgraph, the contrast being generated by the different attenuating power of materials in the sample. The small spot size and high intensity of synchrotron X-rays also make it possible to scan samples and provide a composite image in much finer detail than from conventional sources.
Combining absorption contrast imaging with other X-rays techniques also allows detailed complementary information to be gathered, as in diffraction enhanced imaging, or to recreate three dimensional objects from two-dimensional scans as in tomography.
The tuneability of synchrotron X-rays make it possible to compare images obtained at different X-ray energies, for example below and above the absorption edge of a particular element. The combination of small spot size and the coherent, monochromatic radiation make very high spatial resolution possible. Reduced data acquisition times make it possible to examine mechanical processes in-situ.
Absorption contrast imaging has a wide range of applications, in bio-medicine, materials science, engineering, environmental science and nanotechnology.
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