Alignment of projection images in tomographic reconstruction is a critical process that governs the quality of the reconstructed three-dimensional (3D) image. The most popular alignment method is the marker-based alignment, which typically uses colloidal gold particles added to the specimen (called fiducial markers) to calculate the coordinates of each projection image in the tilt series. This method, however, is not effective when each image contains only a small number of fiducial markers. Therefore, of all the parameters required for alignment, we focussed on the tilt angle and attempted to gage it directly in order to examine whether the acquired angle is accurate enough to perform tomographic reconstruction. We showed that the tilt angle measured using a commercially available capacitive liquid-based inclinometer is more precise than the reading from the monitor of the electron microscope and that it can lead to 3D reconstructions of quality similar to those obtained by the marker-based alignment method. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of Japanese Society of Microscopy]. All rights reserved.
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