No ground truth needed: unsupervised sinogram inpainting for nanoparticle electron tomography (UsiNet) to correct missing wedges

Lehan Yao, Zhiheng Lyu, Jiahui Li, Qian Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Complex natural and synthetic materials, such as subcellular organelles, device architectures in integrated circuits, and alloys with microstructural domains, require characterization methods that can investigate the morphology and physical properties of these materials in three dimensions (3D). Electron tomography has unparalleled (sub-)nm resolution in imaging 3D morphology of a material, critical for charting a relationship among synthesis, morphology, and performance. However, electron tomography has long suffered from an experimentally unavoidable missing wedge effect, which leads to undesirable and sometimes extensive distortion in the final reconstruction. Here we develop and demonstrate Unsupervised Sinogram Inpainting for Nanoparticle Electron Tomography (UsiNet) to correct missing wedges. UsiNet is the first sinogram inpainting method that can be realistically used for experimental electron tomography by circumventing the need for ground truth. We quantify its high performance using simulated electron tomography of nanoparticles (NPs). We then apply UsiNet to experimental tomographs, where >100 decahedral NPs and vastly different byproduct NPs are simultaneously reconstructed without missing wedge distortion. The reconstructed NPs are sorted based on their 3D shapes to understand the growth mechanism. Our work presents UsiNet as a potent tool to advance electron tomography, especially for heterogeneous samples and tomography datasets with large missing wedges, e.g. collected for beam sensitive materials or during temporally-resolved in-situ imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Journalnpj Computational Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Science Applications


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