X-ray phase contrast imaging is a very promising technique that may lead to significant advancements in a variety of fields, perhaps most notably, medical imaging. The radiation physics group at University College London is currently developing an x-ray phase contrast imaging technique that works with laboratory x-ray sources. This system essentially measures the degree to which photons are refracted by regions of an imaged object. The amount of refraction that may be expected to be encountered in practice impacts strongly upon the design of the imaging system. In this paper, we derive an approximate expression between the properties of archetypal imaged objects encountered in practice and the resulting distribution of refracted photons. This is used to derive constraints governing the design of the system.
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