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Hard x-ray contact microscopy provides images of dense samples at resolutions of tens of nanometers. However, the required beam intensity can only be delivered by synchrotron sources. We report on the use of a gold photoelectric conversion layer to lower the exposure dose by a factor of 40 to 50, allowing hard x-ray contact microscopy to be performed with a compact x-ray tube. We demonstrate the method in imaging the transmission pattern of a type of hard x-ray grating that cannot be fitted into conventional x-ray microscopes due to its size and shape. Generally the method is easy to implement and can record images of samples in the hard x-ray region over a large area in a single exposure, without some of the geometric constraints associated with x-ray microscopes based on zone-plate or other magnifying optics.


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