top of page

Keynote Talk 


Prof. Sergei V. Kalinin: "Machine Learning for Scanning Probe Microscopy for Materials Discovery"


Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) are rapidly becoming an indispensable part of physics research, with domain applications ranging from theory and materials prediction to high-throughput data analysis. However, the constantly emerging question is how to match the correlative nature of classical ML with hypothesis-driven causal nature of physical sciences. In parallel, the recent successes in applying ML/AI methods for autonomous systems from robotics through self-driving cars to organic and inorganic synthesis are generating enthusiasm for the potential of these techniques to enable automated and autonomous experiment (AE) in imaging.

In this presentation, I will discuss recent progress in automated experiment in scanning probe microscopy, ranging from feature to physics discovery via active learning. The applications of classical deep learning methods in streaming image analysis are strongly affected by the out of distribution drift effects, and the approaches to minimize though are discussed. We further present invariant variational autoencoders as a method to disentangle affine distortions and rotational degrees of freedom from other latent variables in imaging and spectral data. The analysis of the latent space of autoencoders further allows establishing physically relevant transformation mechanisms. I will further illustrate transition from post-experiment data analysis to active learning process, including learning structure-property relationships and materials discovery in composition spread libraries. Here, the strategies based on simple Gaussian Processes often tend to produce sub-optimal results due to the lack of prior knowledge and very simplified (via learned kernel function) representation of spatial complexity of the system. Comparatively, deep kernel learning (DKL) methods allow to realize both the exploration of complex systems towards the discovery of structure-property relationship, and enable automated experiment targeting physics (rather than simple spatial feature) discovery. The latter is illustrated via experimental discovery of microstructural origins of ferroelectric domain dynamics and ferroelectric non-linearities in PFM. For composition spread libraries, I will demonstrate the combination of the structured Gaussian process and reinforcement learning, the approach we refer to as hypothesis learning. The further applications of hypothesis learning towards physics discovery in SPM are discussed.

About Sergei V. Kalinin:

            Sergei Kalinin is a professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tenness, Knoxville, following 20-year career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received his MS degree from Moscow State University in 1998 and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (with Dawn Bonnell) in 2002. His research presently focuses on the applications of big data and artificial intelligence methods in atomically resolved imaging by scanning transmission electron microscopy and scanning probes for applications including physics discovery and atomic fabrication, as well as mesoscopic studies of electrochemical, ferroelectric, and transport phenomena via scanning probe microscopy.

            Sergei has co-authored >650 publications, with a total citation of >42,000 and an h-index of ~100. He is a fellow of MRS, APS, IoP, IEEE, Foresight Institute, and AVS; a recipient of the Blavatnik Award for Physical Sciences (2018), RMS medal for Scanning Probe Microscopy (2015), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2009); Burton medal of Microscopy Society of America (2010); 4 R&D100 Awards (2008, 2010, 2016, and 2018); and a number of other distinctions.


bottom of page