The properties of SIRT, TVM, and DART for 3D imaging of tubular domains in nanocomposite thin-films and sections

Delei Chen, Bart Goris, Folkert Bleichrodt, Hamed Heidari Mezerji, Sara Bals, Kees Joost Batenburg, Gijsbertus de With, Heiner Friedrich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In electron tomography, the fidelity of the 3D reconstruction strongly depends on the employed reconstruction algorithm. In this paper, the properties of SIRT, TVM and DART reconstructions are studied with respect to having only a limited number of electrons available for imaging and applying different angular sampling schemes. A well-defined realistic model is generated, which consists of tubular domains within a matrix having slab-geometry. Subsequently, the electron tomography workflow is simulated from calculated tilt-series over experimental effects to reconstruction. In comparison with the model, the fidelity of each reconstruction method is evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively based on global and local edge profiles and resolvable distance between particles. Results show that the performance of all reconstruction methods declines with the total electron dose. Overall, SIRT algorithm is the most stable method and insensitive to changes in angular sampling. TVM algorithm yields significantly sharper edges in the reconstruction, but the edge positions are strongly influenced by the tilt scheme and the tubular objects become thinned. The DART algorithm markedly suppresses the elongation artifacts along the beam direction and moreover segments the reconstruction which can be considered a significant advantage for quantification. Finally, no advantage of TVM and DART to deal better with fewer projections was observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron tomography
  • Reconstruction algorithm
  • Simultaneous iterative reconstruction technique (SIRT)
  • Total variation minimization (TVM)
  • Discrete algebraic reconstruction (DART)
  • Beam-sensitive material

Cite this