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Electron Diffraction and crystallography

Electrons can provide a huge amount of information about the arrangement of atoms within all types of materials. The short wavelength and strong electrostatic interaction between the electron and the underlying crystal potential, coupled with the ability to form nanometre sized probes, means that the arrangement of even light elements in nanoscale microstructures can be studied.

Here in Cambridge we are working on a wide range of crystallographic approaches. This has centred around the study of precession electron diffraction (PED), with the recent development of scanning PED. This allows the possibility of studying the spatial distribution of crystal structures, leading to advanced microstructure characterisation and orientation mapping in both 2D and 3D.

The recording of large data-sets of correlated diffraction information has also lead to the burgeoning field of statistical analysis and machine learning for diffraction data. This allows signals from embedded phases such as precipitates or strained regions to be isolated and studied.

In addition to these experimental methods and analyses, we are continuing to develop computation methods to improve the dynamical simulation of electron scattering. This allows the fast simulation of scattering from irregular atomic arrays such as disordered materials or incoherent boundaries.