A Computational Algorithm to Produce Virtual X-ray and Electron Diffraction Patterns from Atomistic Simulations

SP Coleman and MM Sichani and DE Spearot, JOM, 66, 408-416 (2014).

DOI: 10.1007/s11837-013-0829-3

Electron and x-ray diffraction are well-established experimental methods used to explore the atomic scale structure of materials. In this work, a computational algorithm is developed to produce virtual electron and x-ray diffraction patterns directly from atomistic simulations. This algorithm advances beyond previous virtual diffraction methods by using a high-resolution mesh of reciprocal space that eliminates the need for a priori knowledge of the crystal structure being modeled or other assumptions concerning the diffraction conditions. At each point on the reciprocal space mesh, the diffraction intensity is computed via explicit computation of the structure factor equation. To construct virtual selected-area electron diffraction patterns, a hemispherical slice of the reciprocal lattice mesh lying on the surface of the Ewald sphere is isolated and viewed along a specified zone axis. X-ray diffraction line profiles are created by binning the intensity of each reciprocal lattice point by its associated scattering angle, effectively mimicking powder diffraction conditions. The virtual diffraction algorithm is sufficiently generic to be applied to atomistic simulations of any atomic species. In this article, the capability and versatility of the virtual diffraction algorithm is exhibited by presenting findings from atomistic simulations of aOE (c) 100 > symmetric tilt Ni grain boundaries, nanocrystalline Cu models, and a heterogeneous interface formed between alpha-Al2O3 (0001) and gamma-Al2O3 (111).

Return to Publications page