Tim Salditt (University Göttingen): Phase Contrast X-ray Tomography of Biological Tissues: How can 3d virtual Histology help to fight Covid-19?

Phase Contrast X-ray Tomography of Biological Tissues:

How can  3d virtual Histology help to fight  Covid-19?

Tim Salditt, Institut für Röntgenphysik, Universität Göttingen,




X-rays can deeply penetrate matter and thus provide information about materials or biological matter in 3d and at high resolution.  Until recently, however, this potential of hard x-rays in view of penetration, spatial resolution, contrast, and compatibility with environmental conditions was not fully exploited due to the limitations of x-ray focusing optics and phase retrieval methods.  With the advent of partially coherent radiation, efficient phase retrieval algorithms and the perfection of focusing optics, the situation has changed. We show how these develoments work hand-in-hand  towards full field imaging and multi-scale tomography of functional 3d structures. We explain how the central challenge of inverting the coherent diffraction pattern can be mastered by iterative reconstruction algorithms in the optical near-field [1].  Finally, we present biomedical applications, including 3d virtual histology of human brain tissue [2], and most timely : 3d histopathology of lung associated by severe progression of Covid-19 [3].

[1] M. Bartels, M. Krenkel, J. Habe, R.N. Wilke, T. Salditt, X-Ray Holographic Imaging of Hydrated Biological Cells in Solution,  Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 048103 (2015).

[2] M. Töpperwien, F. Van der Meer, C. Stadelmann, and T. Salditt

Three-dimensional virtual histology of human cerebellum by X-ray phase-contrast tomography, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018), 201801678

[3] M. Eckermann, J. Frohn, M. Reichardt, M. Osterhoff, M. Sprung, F. Westermeier, A.Tzankov, C. Werlein, M. Kuehnel, D. Jonigk and T. Salditt 3d Virtual Patho-Histology of Lung Tissue from Covid-19 Patients based on Phase Contrast X-ray Tomography  eLife 2020;9:e60408 doi: 10.7554/eLife.60408 (2020)