Unsupervised machine learning applied to scanning precession electron diffraction data

Ben Martineau, Duncan N. Johnstone, Antonius van Helvoort, Paul Midgley, Alexander Eggeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scanning precession electron diffraction involves the acquisition of a two-dimensional precession electron diffraction pattern at every probe position in a two-dimensional scan. The data typically comprises many more diffraction patterns than the number of distinct microstructural volume elements (e.g. crystals) in the region sampled. A dimensionality reduction, ideally to one representative diffraction pattern per distinct element, may then be sought. Further, some diffraction patterns will contain contributions from multiple crystals sampled along the beam path, which may be unmixed by harnessing this oversampling. Here, we report on the application of unsupervised machine learning methods to achieve both dimensionality reduction and signal unmixing. Potential artefacts are discussed and precession electron diffraction is demonstrated to improve results by reducing the impact of bending and dynamical diffraction so that the data better approximates the case in which each crystal yields a given diffraction pattern.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Structural and Chemical Imaging
Early online date15 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • multivariate analysis
  • non-negative matrix factorisation
  • data clustering
  • scanning electron diffraction
  • precession electron diffraction


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