Phase-contrast tomography (PCT) allows three-dimensional imaging of objects that display insufficient contrast for conventional absorption-based tomography. We prove that PCT is stable with respect to high-frequency noise in experimental phase-contrast data, unlike conventional tomography, which is known to be mildly unstable. We use known properties of the three-dimensional x-ray transform and transport-of-intensity equation to construct a matrix representation of the forward PCT operator. We then invert this formula to show that, under natural boundary conditions, the PCT reconstruction operator exists and leads to a unique solution. We show that the singular values of the reconstruction operator have asymptotic behavior , guaranteeing the mathematical stability of the reconstruction process.
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