Point-Pattern Matching Technique for Local Structural Analysis in Condensed Matter.
The local arrangement of atoms is one of the most important predictors of mechanical and functional properties of materials. However, algorithms for identifying the geometrical arrangements of atoms in complex materials systems are lacking. To address this challenge, we present a point-pattern matching algorithm that can detect instances of a `template' structure in a given set of atom coordinates. To our knowledge this is the first geometrical comparison technique for atomistic configurations with very different number of atoms, and when the optimal rotations and translations required to align the configurations are unknown. The pattern matching algorithm can be combined with an appropriate set of metrics to quantify the similarity or dissimilarity between configurations of atoms. We demonstrate the unique capabilities of the point-pattern matching algorithm using two examples where the automated analysis of local atomistic structure can help advance the understanding of structure-property relationships in material science: (a) identifying local three-dimensional polyhedral units along interfacial defects, and (b) the analysis of quasi-icosahedral topologies in the atomistic structure of metallic glasses. We anticipate that the pattern matching algorithm will be applicable in the analysis of atomistic structures in broad areas of condensed matter systems, including biological molecules, polymers and disordered metallic systems. An online implementation of the algorithm is provided via the open source code hosted on GitHub (https://github.com/spatala/ppm3d).
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1811.06098