Computing diffraction patterns of microstructures from phase-field simulations

Tiannan Yang, Cheng Dai, Vladimir A. Stoica, Fei Xue, Huaiyu Wang, Yanzhou Ji, Venkatraman Gopalan, Long Qing Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The diffraction pattern of a material contains information not only on the crystal structures of its constituting phases, but also on its mesoscale spatial distributions of phases, grains, and ferroelastic, ferroelectric, and ferromagnetic domains. While diffraction patterns from experiments such as X-ray diffraction are presented in the reciprocal or Fourier space, mesoscale microstructure models such as the phase-field method naturally produce real-space images of spatial distribution of chemical composition, structural, and ferroic domains. Although one could rather readily compute the Fourier amplitudes of chemical and structural domain distributions generated by mesoscale simulations, they only contain information about the length scale and alignment of the real-space chemical and structure domains. Therefore, a direct comparison between diffraction experiments and mesoscale microstructure simulations is not possible. Here, we develop a theoretical approach to directly compute the crystal diffraction patterns of microstructures predicted by phase-field simulations. In particular, we consider five representative examples of microstructure patterns involving purely compositional domains, a single pair of tetragonal twin structures, multiple twin variants in a hexagonal system, ferroelectric polar vortices, and polycrystalline grains. The results are compared with previous experimental observations as well as X-ray diffraction experiments performed in the present study. The theoretical framework allows one to directly connect material microstructures and diffraction patterns predicted from phase-field simulations and the corresponding diffraction patterns from experiments, and thus providing guidance to experimental diffraction characterization and interpretation of microstructures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118258
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Oct 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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