Electron tomography is a widely used technique for 3D structural analysis of nanomaterials, but it can cause damage to samples due to high electron doses and long exposure times. To minimize such damage, researchers often reduce beam exposure by acquiring fewer projections through tilt undersampling. However, this approach can also introduce reconstruction artifacts due to insufficient sampling. Therefore, it is important to determine the optimal number of projections that minimizes both beam exposure and undersampling artifacts for accurate reconstructions of beam-sensitive samples. Current methods for determining this optimal number of projections involve acquiring and post-processing multiple reconstructions with different numbers of projections, which can be time-consuming and requires multiple samples due to sample damage. To improve this process, we propose a protocol that combines golden ratio scanning and quasi-3D reconstruction to estimate the optimal number of projections in real-time during a single acquisition. This protocol was validated using simulated and realistic nanoparticles, and was successfully applied to reconstruct two beam-sensitive metal-organic framework complexes.

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

Craig, T.M, Kadu, A.A, Batenburg, K.J, & Bals, S. (2023). Real-time tilt undersampling optimization during electron tomography of beam sensitive samples using golden ratio scanning and RECAST3D. Nanoscale, 15. doi:10.1039/d2nr07198c