Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry (MF) hosted the Frontiers of Electron Tomography in the Physical Sciences conference together with UCLA and STROBE (an NSF Science and Technology Center) to disseminate results and discuss new ideas for three-dimensional imaging techniques.  The conference was held in Berkeley, CA from October 23rd – 26th and included a two-day workshop of research talks followed by a two-day short course. A total of 97 people registered for the conference.

Tomography is a technique that can reconstruct the three-dimensional shape of objects at the nanoscale from a series of two-dimensional images such as those acquired by scanning / transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM). It has become an increasingly important technique in nanoscale research for quantitative characterization in three-dimensions of a wide range of materials systems. Recent advances in S/TEM hardware and reconstruction algorithms has extended this technique to the atomic scale in a technique known as atomic electron tomography (AET). A joint collaboration between UCLA and the MF, with funding from DOE BES and STROBE, has proven atomic resolution imaging is possible with precision of 19 trillionths of a meter (19 picometers). The FET2017 conference was held to discuss these new capabilities, potential future applications and provide in-depth teaching of the technique to graduate and postdoctoral students.

The two-day workshop included talks by several internationally recognized speakers on electron imaging and tomography as well as a poster session highlighting student research. Attendees were given the opportunity to take part in discussions on improvements and applications to AET. An important discussion during the workshop focused on the need for a materials data bank (MDB) of atomic resolution data sets and experimentally determined atomic coordinates made available openly to the physical sciences research community. This database, currently under development, will provide peer-reviewed sets of atomic structures and should be available in 2018.

After the workshop, tomography experts taught two days of lectures and hands-on tutorials to graduate and postdoctoral students on electron tomography topics such as theory, experimental design and newly available software. The new GENFIRE algorithm and open-source software developed as part of STROBE to reconstruct the atomic structure of materials. Also presented was the open-source Tomviz tomography analysis and visualization platform developed by Kitware, Inc. All lecture materials are available at the FET2017 short course website in an effort to increase the accessibility of the AET technique.

The conference was held jointly by the MF, UCLA and STROBE with contributions from several industry partners. More information is available at the conference website.