A new kind of discrete tomography problem is introduced: the reconstruction of discrete sets from their absorbed projections. A special case of this problem is discussed, namely, the uniqueness of the binary matrices with respect to their absorbed row and column sums when the absorption coefficient is = log((1+√5)/2). It is proved that if a binary matrix contains a special structure of 0s and 1s, called alternatively corner-connected component, then this binary matrix is non-unique with respect to its absorbed row and column sums. Since it has been proved in another paper [A. Kuba, M. Nivat, Reconstruction of discrete sets with absorption, Linear Algebra Appl. 339 (2001) 171–194] that this condition is also necessary, the existence of alternatively corner-connected component in a binary matrix gives a characterization of the non-uniqueness in this case of absorbed projections. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.