The SliceRecon project defines three main objects:

  • A projection server, that listens to incoming projection data.
  • A reconstructor, that can reconstruct arbitrarily oriented slices from projection data.
  • A visualization server, that listens to requests from a visualization server, and fulfils them by calling the reconstructor.

Furthermore, it has a notion of a plugin, which is a stand alone server that can postprocess reconstructed slices before sending them to the visualization server.

The incoming, internal, and outgoing communication is all handled by the TomoPackets library.

Projection server

The projection server listens for incoming data packets. It expects first packets that describe the tomographic scan. This is done using:

  • GeometrySpecification: information on where the object is in relation to the acquisition geometry.
  • ScanSettings packet: information on the number of darks and flats.
  • A packet describing the acquisition geometry, such as a ConeVecGeometry packet.

After receiving these packets, the server is able to process ProjectionData packets. First the darks and flats should be sent, after which standard projections can be streamed to the projection server.


The reconstructor is an internal object that decouples the projection server from the visualization server, and has no public interface. It receives projection data from the projection server, and fulfills reconstruction requests from the visualization server.

Visualization server

The visualization server registers itself to the visualization software by sending a MakeScene packet. It then waits to receive KillScene, SetSlice and RemoveSlice packets. If it receives a SetSlice packet, it requests a new slice reconstruction from the reconstructor. It sends this reconstructed slice back either to the visualization software using a SliceData packet if there are no active plugins, or to the first plugin.


A plugin is a simple server, that registers itself to the visualization server, and listens to incoming SliceData packets. It then manipulates the data in this SliceData packet, before sending it along to the next plugin in line, or to the visualization software. The plugin system thus has the following structure:

graph LR reconstructor[Reconstructor] plugin["Plugin(s)"] visualizer[Visualizer] visualizer-- set slice -->reconstructor reconstructor-. slice data.->visualizer reconstructor-- slice data -->plugin plugin-- slice data -->visualizer

There can be more than one plugin, but they are assumed to be applied one after the other. The dashed line is only used if there are no plugins.


Multi-dimensional arrays

  • Volume data is stored in x-y-z order (from major to minor).
  • Projection data is stored in row-column order (from major to minor).

SliceRecon architecture

An overview of the design of SliceRecon is as follows.

graph TB projection_data[(Projection Data)] recast3d[RECAST3D] projection_server[/projection_server/] reconstructor[/reconstructor/] buffer1[inactive buffer] buffer2[active buffer] solver[/solver/] visualization_server[/visualization_server/] projection_data-->projection_server subgraph SliceRecon projection_server-- scan settings -->reconstructor projection_server-- geometry -->reconstructor projection_server-. projections .->reconstructor reconstructor-- preprocessed projections -->buffer1 buffer1-- swap -->buffer2 buffer2-- swap -->buffer1 buffer2-->solver visualization_server-- requests/configuration -->solver solver-- reconstructions -->visualization_server end visualization_server --> recast3d

When projection data comes into SliceRecon, it gets put into an ‘inactive buffer’. As soon as enough projection data is processed and in main RAM, we ‘upload’ to the GPU. This happens in a number of steps:

  • pre-process
    • flat fielding
    • FDK scaling
    • filtering
    • phase retrieval
  • transpose sinogram
  • upload to GPU

There are two modes, alternating and continuous. In ‘alternating’ mode, we always reconstruct from the last complete set of projections. In ‘continuous mode’ we reconstruct with for each projection the most recent data.

Data flowing in/out of SliceRecon

classDiagram class Adapter { scan settings vol_geom proj_geom [projection] } class User Settings { slice_size preview_size group_size filter_cores } class projection_server class visualization_server class solver class Plugins class RECAST3D projection_server <|.. Adapter projection_server <|-- User Settings visualization_server <|-- solver : reconstructions solver <|-- projection_server Plugins <|.. visualization_server : reconstructions RECAST3D <|.. Plugins visualization_server <|.. RECAST3D : requests solver <|-- visualization_server : requests

Solid lines happen within SliceRecon, while dashed lines are communicated using TomoPackets.

Solver implementation

The solver can reconstruct an arbitrarily oriented slice from the full 3D projection data.

Instead of considering the full 3D volume, we setup our geometry by constructing an object volume that consists of the central axial slice C only. If we want to reconstruct an arbitrary slice S, we can transform S into C using a combination of a translation vector \delta from the center of slice S onto the center of C (and thus the full 3D volume), a rotation \mathcal{R}, and optionally a scale factor which does not have to be used when slices are of fixed size.

Slice transformation

For a cone-beam geometry, we can define each projection by a source position \vec{s}, a detector position \vec{d}, and two axes \vec{u} and \vec{v} that define pixel distances on the detector.

We then transform each projection according to:

\begin{align*} \vec{s}' &= \mathcal{R} (\vec{s} + \delta) \\ \vec{d}' &= \mathcal{R} (\vec{d} + \delta) \\ \vec{u}' &= \mathcal{R} (\vec{u}) \\ \vec{v}' &= \mathcal{R} (\vec{v}) \end{align*}

If we then reconstruct with the transformed geometry, we are effectively using a geometry in which the arbitrary slice S has become the central slice, without having to adjust the projection data. This is the basic idea behind the solver implementation: we adjust the geometry on the fly for each slice that we are interested in, and then run a standard backprojection algorithm.