Bragg Ptychography: When Crystallography Meets Microscopy

by Virginie Chamard

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Centrale Marseille, Institut Fresnel UMR 7249, 13013 Marseille, France



Imaging complex crystalline materials at the nanoscale is a major challenge of nanoscience, which calls for a microscopy method combining sensitivity to the crystalline properties, 3D imaging capability, in situ compatibility and high spatial resolution. In this context, the advents of x-ray lensless imaging methods, based on Bragg coherent diffraction, have opened promising perspectives [1] filling the gap between direct microscopies (AFM, SEM, TEM) and reciprocal-space based x-ray Bragg diffraction analysis.

Our group is leading the development of 3D Bragg ptychography microscopy [2], a coherent diffraction imaging method using synchrotron sources, and which merges concepts developed in inverse microscopy and crystallography. This modality is based on the acquisition of far-field Bragg coherent intensity patterns; It exploits the partially redundant information obtained by scanning a finite beam spot size transversally to the sample, while measuring the corresponding 3D far-field intensity diffraction pattern by scanning angularly the sample along the rocking curve. Instead of lenses, numerical tools are employed to retrieve the lost phase [3] and hence the complex-valued sample scattering contrast. Thereby, it ensures access to truly quantitative information, such as the crystalline displacement field, from which the 3D strain component and crystalline plane rotations can be derived, with nanoscale spatial resolution. 3D imaging of extended crystalline samples is then possible [2, 4], opening Bragg coherent diffraction microscopy to a large range of applications.

In this presentation, the general concepts of Bragg ptychography will be first detailed [2-4]. A series of applications of the methods to material science related problems will be shown to illustrate its interest [5-7]. Finally, perspectives in the framework of fourth generation synchrotron sources will be given [8].

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This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon H2020 research and innovation program grant agreement No 695093.



[1] M. A. Pfeifer, et al., Nature 442, 63 (2006). A. Ulvestad, et al., Science 348, 1344-1347 (2015).

[2] P. Godard, et al., Nature Communications 2, 568 (2011).

[3] P. Godard, et al., Optics Express 20, 25914 (2012).

[4] S. O. Hruszkewycz, et al., Nature Materials (2016).

[5] F. Mastropietro, et al., Nature Materials 16, 946 (2017).

[6] C. Kim, et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 256101 (2018).

[7] P. Li et al., Nature Commun., accepted.

[8] P. Li et al., submitted.


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