In-line, x-ray phase-contrast imaging is responsive to both phase changes and absorption as the x radiation traverses a body. Expressions are derived for phase-contrast imaging of objects having transmission functions separable in Cartesian coordinates. Starting from the Fresnel–Kirchhoff integral formula for image formation, an expression is found for the phase-contrast image produced by an x-ray source with nonvanishing dimensions. This expression is evaluated in limiting cases where the source-to-object distance is large, where the source acts as a point source, and where the weak phase approximation is valid. The integral expression for the image is evaluated for objects with simple geometrical shapes, showing the influence of the source dimensions on the visibility of phase-contrast features. The expressions derived here are evaluated for cases where the magnification is substantially greater than one as would be employed in biological imaging. Experiments are reported using the in-line phase-contrast imaging method with a microfocus x-ray source and a CCD camera.
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