Hitting a new peak: Scientists enhance X-ray data analysis with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every scientific field, from biology to materials science. When it comes to some types of X-ray experiments, new AI approaches have enabled researchers to obtain a more accurate analysis of their samples and to do so in a much shorter amount of time.

A group of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are harnessing AI to perform the challenging task of analyzing data from high-energy X-ray experiments. With a new neural network-based method called BraggNN, the Argonne team can more precisely identify Bragg peaks — data points that indicate positions and orientations of tiny individual crystals — in a fraction of the time they used to.

Neural networks (the NN in BraggNN) are algorithms that look for patterns in data and, over time, learn to predict outcomes, speeding up the analysis of that data.

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