Machine learning for autonomous crystal structure identification
We present a machine learning technique to discover and distinguish relevant ordered structures from molecular simulation snapshots or particle tracking data. Unlike other popular methods for structural identification, our technique requires no a priori description of the target structures. Instead, we use nonlinear manifold learning to infer structural relationships between particles according to the topology of their local environment. This graph-based approach yields unbiased structural information which allows us to quantify the crystalline character of particles near defects, grain boundaries, and interfaces. We demonstrate the method by classifying particles in a simulation of colloidal crystallization, and show that our method identifies structural features that are missed by standard techniques.