The Invention provides practical apparatus and methods for significant improvements to conventional radiography practice. It can image objects having negligible x-ray absorption contrast e.g. otherwise x-ray transparent low-Z artifacts such as human soft-tissue, by obtaining edge-enhanced contrast from an object's (BDY) x-ray refractive-index gradients. In mammography, the contrast of small micro-calcifications is increased typically 4-fold, or more. It can be "tuned" to obtain element-selective refractive-index enhanced contrast to resonantly image minute quantities of a specific element with Z.apprxeq.35-56 and only that element. With only a single brief x-ray exposure it can produce two independent images, e.g. of the object's x-ray absorption and refractive-index distributions. It virtually eliminates the blurring and contrast reducing effects of x-ray scatter, especially of very small-angle scatter. It does not use a Bucky grid, and the associated increase in effective detector quantum efficiency results in a significant decrease in image quantum mottle. It can produce CT scan 3D images with a much reduced scanning time. The Invention provides radiograms with greatly improved resolution, contrast and versatility, and edge-enhanced features. It operates via the fractional Talbot effect using two pre-object microfabricated gratings (G1, G2) and a detector (D) preferably containing a periodic pixel array. It further includes an in-situ laser interferometer for aligning the gratings (G1, G2) to the detector (D). While the Invention has a wide range of application, it is ideally suited for medical imaging of biological soft-tissue, and especially for mammography, angiography, and CT (or CAT) scans.