Near-field limitations of Fresnel-regime coherent diffraction imaging
AbstractCoherent diffraction imaging (CDI) is a rapidly developing form of imaging that offers the potential of wavelength-limited resolution without image-forming lenses. In CDI, the intensity of the diffraction pattern is measured directly by the detector, and various iterative phase retrieval algorithms are used to “invert” the diffraction pattern and reconstruct a high-resolution image of the sample. However, there are certain requirements in CDI that must be met to reconstruct the object. Although most experiments are conducted in the “far-field”—or Fraunhofer—regime where the requirements are not as stringent, some experiments must be conducted in the “near field” where Fresnel diffraction must be considered. According to the derivation of Fresnel diffraction, successful reconstructions can only be obtained when the small-angle number, a derived quantity, is much less than one. We show, however, that it is not actually necessary to fulfill the small-angle condition. The Fresnel kernel well approximates the exact kernel in regions where the phase oscillates slowly, and in regions of fast oscillations, indicated by large An, the error between kernels should be negligible due to stationary-phase arguments. We experimentally verify this conclusion with a helium neon laser setup and show that it should hold at x-ray wavelengths as well.