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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Autonomous 3D characterization of nanoscale materials

In a study published in Nature Computational Materials, researchers developed a machine learning technique that combines topology and image processing to visualize 3D micro-structures and characterize features that affect their material properties.

Scientific Achievement

An unsupervised machine learning technique was developed for visualizing and quantifying micro-structures in three-dimensional (3D) samples with data from molecular dynamics simulations, particle tracking data, and experiments.

Significance and Impact

The technique provides a way to quickly identify, track, and quantify complex microstructural features that impact the observed behavior of materials with many technological applications.

Research Details

  • The technique provides microstructural information regarding e.g. grains and their size distributions in 3D polycrystalline samples, voids and porosity in 3D polymeric samples, and micellar size distribution in 3D complex fluids.
  • Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) Carbon HPC, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, National Energy Scientific Computing Center and Argonne’s Laboratory Computing Resource Center were used.

Work was performed in part at CNM.


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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.