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Dual-axis automation for electron tomography
FEI Co., a provider of high-resolution imaging and analysis solutions, has released its Xplore3D software package, updated to include data acquisition and reconstruction for dual-axis electron tomography. The new capability provides more complete information for the reconstruction of complex biological ultrastructure from high-resolution scanning/transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM). Xplore3D's automation and specimen positioning capabilities allow users to automatically acquire tomography tilt series images from an initial tilt axis and a second tilt axis, after a sample rotation. Acquiring tilt series from two axes enables users to gain more information from the sample, thereby minimizing the "missing wedge" problem common to all single-tilt series tomography. Single-axis S/TEM tomography data suffers from the existence of a "missing wedge" due to the geometry of samples and stage; images can usually only be acquired for tilt angles in a range of ±70o. In 3D-reconstruction, this gives rise to artifacts and directional dependencies in resolution and contrast. To reduce these shortcomings, samples are often rotated by about 90o in the holder and a second tilt series is acquired (dual-axis tomography). The "missing wedge" is thus reduced to a "missing pyramid." Extreme precision in the compucentric stage is required to maintain the point of interest at the same location within the field of view as the sample tilts during the imaging sequences. FEI's Xplore3D adds automated dual-axis acquisition and reconstruction capabilities to minimize the missing wedge problem and optimize the accuracy of any tomographic reconstruction. After automated dual-axis acquisition, Xplore3D also now enables automated dual-axis tomogram reconstruction. Its dual-axis capability enables users to generate highly accurate tomograms as simply as possible. Xplore3D is available now and integrated with FEI Tecnai and Titan Krios TEMs.