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Massively Parallel X-Ray Holography

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the thank-you-for-not-inventing-a-witty-acronym dept.

Graphics 41

Roland Piquepaille writes "An international group of scientists has produced some of the sharpest x-ray holograms of microscopic objects ever made. According to one of them, they improved the efficiency of holography by a factor of 2,500. In order to achieve these spectacular results, they put a uniformly redundant array next to the object to image. And they found that this parallel approach multiplied 'the efficiency of X-ray Fourier transform holography by more than three orders of magnitude, approaching that of a perfect lens.' Besides these impressive achievements, it's worth noting that this technology has been inspired by the pinhole camera, a technique used by ancient Greeks. 'By knowing the precise layout of a pinhole array, including the different sizes of the different pinholes, a computer can recover a bright, high-resolution image numerically.'"

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41 comments

One important note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24456685)

It can't be used on living organisms as it causes instant cancer and death. Sorry, Bob.

Re:One important note (4, Informative)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456923)

It can't be used on living organisms as it causes instant cancer and death. Sorry, Bob.

Actually, from TFA:
 

So bright was the flash of light that the sample [bacteria] was vaporized, but not before both the scattered object beam and the reference beams from the URA had been recorded.

Indeed, as one can see, the part of "instant death" is quite accurate.

No pictures? (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456689)

No pictures, smaller than a Nomad, lame.

Re:No pictures? (2, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#24459595)

This [wikipedia.org] is what a typical X-ray diffraction pattern looks like.
You need to get a sample like that from many angles of reflection, and then use Fourier transforms to piece it back together (which is why pictures wouldn't have been very interesting).

Also I noticed some saying "this can't be used on humans" etc. The idea is to use it to map out the internal structure of molecules, not to see people's bones.
e.g. DNA's discovery was based on this technique, and it's used constantly by the pharmaceutical companies to see whether their reactions are giving the chemicals they want.
So improved techniques like these are a big help to medicine.

(Only just starting a semester on this subject at the moment, let me know if I've missed anything)

Re:No pictures? (1)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 5 years ago | (#24463833)

Please don't let anyone get away with calling the internet the cloud!

Although I strongly agree with you I could not help wonder what Senator Steven Williams [wikipedia.org] would have thought:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Cloud, and what happens to your own personal Cloud? I just the other day got... a Cloud was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Cloud commercially.

Lack of Disclaimer (4, Funny)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456695)

The hologram of the Spiroplasma bacterium was made in precisely the same way, with much brighter x-ray beams and a much shorter pulse of light. So bright was the flash of light that the sample was vaporized

I guess this means they can't use the disclaimer: "No bacteria were harmed in the making of this hologram."

Re:Lack of Disclaimer (0)

Rocky Mudbutt (22622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456771)

"Turn around, go back down, back the way you came. Can't you see that flash of fire, ten time brighter than the day?"

Hamilton Camp

There ARE same files! (-1, Offtopic)

rkwasny (709076) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456823)

HushEncryptionEngine.jar which is the same as on the web site is located in /applets/ foler in .zip file

This part is obvious FUD

Re:There ARE same files! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24458603)

HushEncryptionEngine.jar which is the same as on the web site is located in /applets/ foler in .zip file

How can you tell? (Incidentally, you've posted in the wrong story....)

"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (4, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456857)

I'm a bit skeptical. Whatever information one can get is present in the original diffraction pattern. "Processing" *probably* means interpolation, or convolution with the known regular array. One can only keep the same information already present, or lose information in this way. They probably mean that the pattern was smoothed so as to look nicer to the eye (which is certainly valid), but I doubt they increased resolution in any way.

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (4, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456935)

The arxiv paper (referenced elsewhere in these posts) mentions that the obtainable information drops rapidly at 75nm. Their phase-recovery algorithm, combined with the snr inherent in the system, conspire to do this. It's really not a function of the computer post-processing (which can't, after all, improve the image resolution). The caption on one of the figures in the linked article is simply a little misleading; however, the entire article is quite good. Science reporting ftw!

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (5, Interesting)

FilipeMaia (550301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457541)

By post processing they mean the phasing algorithm. The imaging method is divided in two parts. First they recover a low resolution image of the object that was imaged by looking directly at the hologram and deconvoluting with the known pinholes (in this case a Uniformly redundant array (URA), which assures that the deconvolution is well behaved). This step cannot achieve a resolution higher than the size of the pinholes in the URA. In a second step the entire image is phased, meaning that an algorithm is aplied to it that tries to mimick a lense. This increases the resolution obtained to the maximum possible, that is to the limit of the numerical aperture.

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (2, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457861)

Interestingly enough, if one captures all of the phase data (as by using not-quite-evanescent waves), the resolution isn't restricted by the classical far-field limit of 1/2 wavelength. Because they're doing holography, they should be capturing at least *some* of the phase info.

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457595)

Whatever information one can get is present in the original diffraction pattern. "Processing" *probably* means interpolation, or convolution with the known regular array. One can only keep the same information already present, or lose information in this way. They probably mean that the pattern was smoothed so as to look nicer to the eye (which is certainly valid), but I doubt they increased resolution in any way.

It's not that the computer processing improved the resolution, it's that the computer processing is a necessary part of the process which improves the resolution.

This article talks about taking normal x-ray radiation and using that to make a hologram. Holograms are usually made from laser illumination because a laser beam is coherent [wikipedia.org] light, light in which the waves are all in phase (in step) with each other. It is difficult to make an x-ray laser but there is another way to get coherent light and that is through the use of pinholes.

The major problem of pinholes is that the smaller they are the less light is let through so the dimmer the image. However a large pinhole produces a very inaccurate (low resolution) image. One answer is to use a lot of small pinholes in the place of a few large pinholes. This is a great solution which produces sharp, bright images but now there is an additional problem, each pinhole makes a separate image and all these pinholes cause multiple overlapping images, offset a tiny bit from each other. This is where the computer works. Since the original pinhole pattern is known (you created it) you can feed that pattern into the computer and it can use that pattern to "slide" all the overlapping images so they exactly fit on each other. This makes a single, bright, sharp image.

The computer is not increasing the resolution of the detector, that's fixed. What it is doing is working as part of a process to produce better images.

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457859)

Actually, after going back to the article and re-reading it I find that they are using pinholes to produce coherent reference light but they are only using two of them to do this, not a pattern of many of them. In the method described in the article the pattern is instead off to one side of the object to be imaged. It appears that they are using the pattern to deconvolute [wikipedia.org] the final image. Since the pattern is known you can use a deconvolution function based on that pattern to re-create the original pattern in the image. This has the side effect of correcting the image of the object you wish to view, increasing the resolution of the image.

In essence they are using the pattern to calibrate their instrument in order to improve the imaging.

Re:"Computer processing improved the resolution" ? (2, Informative)

FilipeMaia (550301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457885)

This is where the computer works. Since the original pinhole pattern is known (you created it) you can feed that pattern into the computer and it can use that pattern to "slide" all the overlapping images so they exactly fit on each other. This makes a single, bright, sharp image.

The computer not only deconvolutes the pinhole pattern(which only provides an image with the same resolution as the pinhole) but it uses the entire diffraction in the detector and phases it to obtain an image, much like a lens would do. This achieves a resolution that is simply limited by the numerical aperture of the detector (which can be much smaller than the pinhole size).

A related .pdf on arxiv here: (5, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456877)

Re:A related .pdf on arxiv here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24462197)

Thanks. I'm surprised that this work has been published before - the article you mention is basically identical. I always thought Nature was striving to publish new results...?

Re:A related .pdf on arxiv here: (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24462349)

"Publishing" on arxiv isn't really what one normally thinks of as publishing. It's a way to get interesting results out into the scientific community, so that they can be vetted and proofread by others before they appear in print. Rather a nice thing, I think. It means that more people can get access to the results, earlier, and without paying for them.

Appeal Denied (1, Interesting)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456943)

From TFA:

The hologram of the Spiroplasma bacterium was made in precisely the same way, with much brighter x-ray beams and a much shorter pulse of light. So bright was the flash of light that the sample was vaporized...

The prisoner's last meal consisted of an enriched sugar/protein broth. He elected not to speak to a priest. His last words were, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done before."

"2500 times more efficient" can mean... (3, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#24456987)

2500 times better signal/noise, or (I think) 50 times better resolution, or 2500 times shorter exposures, or 2500 times less radiation intensity.

Conventional X-ray and CT imaging are vastly different from X-ray holography, but this research might well end up contributing to those modalities as well. Everyone would be very happy to get useful resolution with vastly lowered exposures.

Re:"2500 times more efficient" can mean... (1)

FilipeMaia (550301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457831)

2500 times better signal/noise, or (I think) 50 times better resolution, or 2500 times shorter exposures...

The improvement in resolution will be much smaller than 50 times as the intensity drops very fast with increasing resolution. It's not simply the sqrt of the SNR.

Re:"2500 times more efficient" can mean... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457871)

I'd expect areal resolution, not linear, to go as the sqrt of SNR, meaning that a 2500-fold SNR increase would translate to 7x smaller linear resolution -- in other words, it would take you from (say) 1mm resolution to .14mm resolution in the clinical setting. But I may be overlooking some critical issues. My grasp of the math is pretty tenuous.

Numerically (0)

Kestrell69 (1302307) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457005)

'By knowing the precise layout of a pinhole array, including the different sizes of the different pinholes, a computer can recover a bright, high-resolution image numerically.'" Better than recovering it alphabetically, eh?

That was fast ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457097)

Interesting this comes less than a week after Slashdot posted [slashdot.org] something similar with visible light.

haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457221)

look at josh's penis!

Google Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457327)

How long until Google will use this technology, and show ultra high res images in Google Earth? Me thinks that's just a matter of months.

hidden cameras ftw (1)

Longwalker-MGO (816354) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457369)

Besides these impressive achievements, it's worth noting that this technology has been inspired by the pinhole camera, a technique used by ancient Greeks.

Wow! "Ancient" Greeks invented hidden cameras to spy on women in the bathroom and shower?

Hell and I thought cameras were invented only within the last few hundred years.

Re:hidden cameras ftw (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457847)

Greeks and Optics [mlahanas.de]

The earliest known written evidence of a camera obscura can be found in Aristotle's documentation of a device in 350 BC in Problemata" (Patti, 1993). Aristotle's apparatus contained a dark chamber that had a single small hole to allow for sunlight to enter. With this device, he made observations of the sun. He noted that no matter what shape the hole was, it would still display the sun correctly as a round object. Another observation that he made was that when the distance between the aperture (the tiny hole) and the surface with the image increased, the image would become amplified. Although no one is perfectly sure, many attribute the invention of the camera obscura to Aristotle. He rejected the vision theory of Plato of light rays emitted from the eyes.

Camera Obscura [acmi.net.au]

Oh No!! (0)

chinkuone (1150389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457459)

Its Roland!!!!...Again!

Re:Oh No!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457531)

Someday, someone is going to have to explain the "Oh no! It's Roland!" meme to me.

Re:Oh No!! (2, Informative)

chinkuone (1150389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24457611)

Roland usually submits stories to Slashdot detailing some "breakthrough" scientific or technological discovery. Unfortunately, the links point to his ad-heavy blog and not to the story itself, thereby allowing Roland to get a sizable chunk of ad revenue courtesy of the hordes of Slashdotters who actually RTFA(ahem..). Note: 'usually'. Recently, his links have been pointing to the story directly, I'll give him that.

Re:Oh No!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457947)

it started because his blog like "articles" only poked at whatever topic was hot in past few months and presented no new findings or even discussed anything. and people (on /.) started hating him.

this one seems to be an exception though.

Posted on crowdnews.eu 5 hours ago. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24457569)

This story was posted 5 hours ago on http://crowdnews.eu

You might argue that 5 hours isn't much
but you might take in consideration that crowdnews.eu
only have 6 users at this point in time.

Crowdnews.eu - is a social news site based on sharing instead of voting.
Follow me on CrowdNews http://crowdnews.eu/users/addGuide/42/

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