Lensless microscopy with X-rays, or coherent diffractive imaging, is a promising approach. It allows researchers to analyze complex three-dimensional structures, which frequently exist in nature, from a dynamic perspective. Researchers have developed a method in which two images of an object can be taken from two different directions using a single laser pulse. The images are then combined to form a spatial image – similar to the human brain forming a stereo image from two slightly different images of both eyes. The method of computer-assisted stereoscopic vision is already used in the fields of machine vision and robotics. Now researchers have used the method in X-ray imaging for the first time.
The stereoscopic vision method enables 3D reconstructions on a nanometric scale using a single image that consists of two images from two different perspectives.
The method will have a significant impact on 3D structural imaging of individual macromolecules and could be used in biology, medicine, as well as in industry. For example, the protein structure of a virus could be analyzed faster and with very little effort. The protein structure has an immense influence on the function and behavior of a virus and plays a decisive role in medical diagnoses.