Tomographic Energy-Dispersive Diffraction Imaging (TEDDI) enables a unique non-destructive mapping of the interior of bulk objects, exploiting the full range of X-ray signals (diffraction, fluorescence, scattering, background) recorded. By analogy to optical imaging, a wide variety of features (structure, composition, orientation, strain) dispersed in X-ray wavelengths can be extracted and colour-coded to aid interpretation. The ultimate aim of this approach is to realise real-time high-definition colour X-ray diffraction imaging, on the timescales of seconds, so that one will be able to ‘look inside’ optically opaque apparatus and unravel the space/time-evolution of the materials chemistry taking place. This will impact strongly on many fields of science but there are currently two barriers to this goal: speed of data acquisition (a 2D scan currently takes minutes to hours) and loss of image definition through spatial distortion of the X-ray sampling volume. Here we present a data-collection scenario and reconstruction routine which overcomes the latter barrier and which has been successfully applied to a phantom test object and to real materials systems such as a carbonating cement block. These procedures are immediately transferable to the promising technology of multi-energy-dispersive-detector-arrays which are planned to deliver the other breakthrough, that of one–two orders of magnitude improvement in data acquisition rates, that will be needed to realise real-time high-definition colour X-ray diffraction imaging.
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