Single-image based deep learning for precise atomic defects identification

Kangshu Li, Xiaocang Han, Yanhui Hong, Yuan Meng,Xiang Chen, Junxian Li,Jing-Yang You,Lin Yao, Wenchao Hu, Zhiyi Xia,Guolin Ke,Linfeng Zhang, Jin Zhang,Xiaoxu Zhao


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Defect engineering has been profoundly employed to confer desirable functionality to materials that pristine lattices inherently lack. Although single atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) images are widely accessible for defect engineering, harnessing atomic-scale images containing various defects through traditional image analysis methods is hindered by random noise and human bias. Yet the rise of deep learning (DL) offering an alternative approach, its widespread application is primarily restricted by the need for large amounts of training data with labeled ground truth. In this study, we propose a two-stage method to address the problems of high annotation cost and image noise in the detection of atomic defects in monolayer 2D materials. In the first stage, to tackle the issue of data scarcity, we employ a two-state transformation network based on U-GAT-IT for adding realistic noise to simulated images with pre-located ground truth labels, thereby infinitely expanding the training dataset. In the second stage, atomic defects in monolayer 2D materials are effectively detected with high accuracy using U-Net models trained with the data generated in the first stage, avoiding random noise and human bias issues. In both stages, we utilize segmented unit-cell-level images to simplify the model's task and enhance its accuracy. Our results demonstrate that not only sulfur vacancies, we are also able to visualize oxygen dopants in monolayer MoS2, which are usually overwhelmed by random background noise. As the training was based on a few segmented unit-cell-level realistic images, this method can be readily extended to other 2D materials. Therefore, our results outline novel ways to train the model with minimized datasets, offering great opportunities to fully exploit the power of machine learning (ML) applicable to a broad materials science community.
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