Model-free classification of X-ray scattering signals applied to image segmentation

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In most cases, the analysis of small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS, respectively) requires a theoretical model to describe the sample’s scattering, complicating the interpretation of the scattering resulting from complex heterogeneous samples. This is the reason why, in general, the analysis of a large number of scattering patterns, such as are generated by time resolved and scanning methods, remains challenging. Here, a model-free classification method to separate SAXS/WAXS signals on the basis of their inflection points is introduced and demonstrated. This article focuses on the segmentation of scanning SAXS/WAXS maps for which each pixel corresponds to an azimuthally integrated scattering curve. In such a way, the sample composition distribution can be segmented through signal classification without applying a model or previous sample knowledge. Dimensionality reduction and clustering algorithms are employed to classify SAXS/WAXS signals according to their similarity. The number of clusters, i.e. the main sample regions detected by SAXS/WAXS signal similarity, is automatically estimated. From each cluster, a main representative SAXS/WAXS signal is extracted to uncover the spatial distribution of the mixtures of phases that form the sample. As examples of applications, a mudrock sample and two breast tissue lesions are segmented.




Lutz-Bueno, V., Arboleda, C., Leu, L., Blunt, M. J., Busch, A., Georgiadis, A., … Menzel, A. (2018). Model-free classification of X-ray scattering signals applied to image segmentation. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 51(5), 1378–1386.

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