Sharp X-ray images despite imperfect lenses

X-rays make it possible to explore inside human bodies or peer inside objects. The technology used to illuminate the detail in microscopically small structures is the same as that used in familiar situations — such as medical imaging at a clinic or luggage control at the airport. X-ray microscopy enables scientists to study the three-dimensional structure of materials, organisms or tissues without cutting and damaging the sample. Unfortunately, the performance of X-ray microscopy is limited by the difficulties in producing the perfect lens. A team has now shown that, despite the manufacturing limitations of lenses, a much higher image quality and sharpness than ever before can be achieved using a special experimental arrangement and numerical image reconstruction downstream: an algorithm compensates for the deficits of the lenses.