Google Research

BIGDML—Towards accurate quantum machine learning force fields for materials

  • Huziel Sauceda
  • Luis Gálvez-González
  • Stefan Chmiela
  • Lauro Oliver Paz Borbon
  • Klaus-Robert Müller
  • Alexandre Tkatchenko
Nature Communications, vol. 13 (2022), pp. 3733


Machine-learning force fields (MLFF) should be accurate, computationally and data efficient, and applicable to molecules, materials, and interfaces thereof. Currently, MLFFs often introduce tradeoffs that restrict their practical applicability to small subsets of chemical space or require exhaustive datasets for training. Here, we introduce the Bravais-Inspired Gradient-Domain Machine Learning (BIGDML) approach and demonstrate its ability to construct reliable force fields using a training set with just 10–200 geometries for materials including pristine and defect-containing 2D and 3D semiconductors and metals, as well as chemisorbed and physisorbed atomic and molecular adsorbates on surfaces. The BIGDML model employs the full relevant symmetry group for a given material, does not assume artificial atom types or localization of atomic interactions and exhibits high data efficiency and state-of-the-art energy accuracies (errors substantially below 1 meV per atom) for an extended set of materials. Extensive path-integral molecular dynamics carried out with BIGDML models demonstrate the counterintuitive localization of benzene–graphene dynamics induced by nuclear quantum effects and their strong contributions to the hydrogen diffusion coefficient in a Pd crystal for a wide range of temperatures.

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