Uncovering nature’s patterns at the atomic scale in living color

Color coding makes aerial maps much more easily understood. Through color, we can tell at a glance where there is a road, forest, desert, city, river or lake.

Working with several universities, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has devised a method for creating color coded graphs of large volumes of data from X-ray analysis. This new tool uses computational data sorting to find clusters related to physical properties, such as an atomic distortion in a crystal structure. It should greatly accelerate future research on structural changes on the atomic scale induced by varying temperature.

“Our method uses machine learning to rapidly analyze immense amounts of data from X-ray diffraction,” said Raymond Osborn, senior physicist in Argonne’s Materials Science division. ​“What might have taken us months in the past, now takes about a quarter hour, with much more fine grained results.”

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