Combined Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy Tilt- and Focal Series

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In this study, a combined tilt- and focal series is proposed as a new recording scheme for high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) tomography. Three-dimensional (3D) data were acquired by mechanically tilting the specimen, and recording a through-focal series at each tilt direction. The sample was a whole-mount macrophage cell with embedded gold nanoparticles. The tilt–focal algebraic reconstruction technique (TF-ART) is introduced as a new algorithm to reconstruct tomograms from such combined tilt- and focal series. The feasibility of TF-ART was demonstrated by 3D reconstruction of the experimental 3D data. The results were compared with a conventional STEM tilt series of a similar sample. The combined tilt- and focal series led to smaller “missing wedge” artifacts, and a  higher axial resolution than obtained for the STEM tilt series, thus improving on one of the main issues of tilt series-based electron tomography.