Towards automated electron holographic tomography for 3D mapping of electrostatic potentials

Daniel Wolf, Axel Lubk, Hannes Lichte, Heiner Friedrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Electron-holographic tomography (EHT), that is, the combination of off-axis electron holography with electron tomography, was successfully applied for the quantitative 3D mapping of electrostatic potentials at the nanoscale. Here we present the first software package (THOMAS) for semi-automated acquisition of holographic tilt series, a prerequisite for efficient data collection. Using THOMAS, the acquisition time for a holographic tilt series, consisting of object and reference holograms, is reduced by a factor of five on average, compared to the previous, completely manual approaches. Moreover, the existing software packages for retrieving amplitude and phase information from electron holograms have been extended, now including a one-step procedure for holographic tilt series reconstruction. Furthermore, a modified SIRT algorithm (WSIRT) was implemented for the quantitative 3D reconstruction of the electrostatic potential from the aligned phase tilt series. Finally, the application of EHT to a polystyrene latex sphere test-specimen and a pn-doped Ge 'needle'-shaped specimen are presented, illustrating the quantitative character of EHT. For both specimens the mean inner potential (MIP) values were accurately determined from the reconstructed 3D potential. For the Ge specimen, additionally the 'built-in' voltage across the pn junction of 0.5. V was obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-399
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Acquisition software
  • Automation
  • Electron holography
  • Electron tomography
  • Electrostatic potential
  • Reconstruction algorithm


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