A differential phase contrast X-ray imaging system includes an X-ray illumination system, a beam splitter arranged in an optical path of the X-ray illumination system, and a detection system arranged in an optical path to detect X-rays after passing through the beam splitter.
 This invention was made with Government support of Grant No. DE-FG02-99ER54523, awarded by the Department of Energy; and Grant No. 1R21EB012777-01A1, awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services, The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.