Tomographic imaging of the molecular structure of an object is important for a variety of applications, ranging from medical and industrial radiography to security screening. X-ray diffraction imaging is the preeminent technique for performing molecular analysis of large volumes. Here we propose and demonstrate a new measurement architecture to improve the source and detector efficiency for diffraction imaging. In comparison with previous techniques, our approach reduces the required overall scan time by 1–2 orders of magnitude, which makes possible real-time scanning of a broad range of materials over a large volume using a table-top setup. This method, which relies on structuring spatially the illumination incident on an object moving relative to the X-ray source, is compatible with existing systems and has the potential to significantly enhance performance in an array of areas, such as medical diagnostic imaging and explosives detection.
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