Rationale and Objectives.: As a preliminary study for application of phase-contrast X-ray imaging to medicine, we measured the X-ray refractive index of human blood and its influence on image contrast. Methods.: Using an X-ray interferometer, the X-ray phase shifts caused by human blood and its ingredients were measured from the interval of interference fringes. Results.: The X-ray phase shift caused by blood was 3% larger than that caused by serum. Conclusion.: The large phase shift caused by blood is due to red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin molecules with iron atoms. It is possible that blood produces a structure in a phase-contrast X-ray image.
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