Phase-contrast x-ray imaging (PCI) is an innovative method that is sensitive to the refraction of the x-rays in matter. PCI is particularly adapted to visualize weakly absorbing details like those often encountered in biology and medicine. In past years, PCI has become one of the most used imaging methods in laboratory and preclinical studies: its unique characteristics allow high contrast 3D visualization of thick and complex samples even at high spatial resolution. Applications have covered a wide range of pathologies and organs, and are more and more often performed in vivo. Several techniques are now available to exploit and visualize the phase-contrast: propagation- and analyzer-based, crystal and grating interferometry and non-interferometric methods like the coded aperture. In this review, covering the last five years, we will give an overview of the main theoretical and experimental developments and of the important steps performed towards the clinical implementation of PCI.

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