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  1. Hard X-ray nanodiffraction provides a unique nondestructive technique to quantify local strain and structural inhomogeneities at nanometer length scales. However, sample mosaicity and phase separation can result in a complex diffraction pattern that can make it challenging to quantify nanoscale structural distortions. In this work, a k -means clustering algorithm was utilized to identify local maxima of intensity by partitioning diffraction data in a three-dimensional feature space of detector coordinates and intensity. This technique has been applied to X-ray nanodiffraction measurements of a patterned ferroelectric PbZr 0.2 Ti 0.8 O 3 sample. The analysis reveals the presence of two phases in the sample with different lattice parameters. A highly heterogeneous distribution of lattice parameters with a variation of 0.02 Å was also observed within one ferroelectric domain. This approach provides a nanoscale survey of subtle structural distortions as well as phase separation in ferroelectric domains in a patterned sample.
  2. A ferroelectric BaTiO3 thin film grown on a NdScO3 substrate was studied using x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) to characterize thermal fluctuations near the a/b to a/c domain structure transformation present in this low-strain material, which is absent in the bulk. XPCS studies provide a direct comparison of the role of domain fluctuations in first- and second-order phase transformations. The a/b to a/c domain trans- formation is accompanied by a decrease in fluctuation timescales, and an increase in intensity and correlation length. Surprisingly, domain fluctuations are observed up to 25 °C above the transformation, concomitant with the growth of a/c domains and coexistence of both domain types. After a small window of stability, as the Curie temperature is approached, a/c domain fluctuations are observed, albeit slower, potentially due to the structural transformation associated with the ferroelectric to paraelectric transformation. The observed time evolution and reconfiguration of domain patterns highlight the role played by phase coexistence and elastic boundary conditions in altering fluctuation timescales in ferroelectric thin film