Constructing and evaluating machine-learned interatomic potentials for Li-based disordered rocksalts

V. Choyal, N. Sagar, and G. Sai Gautam; J. Chem. Theory Comput., Article ASAP (2024)


Lithium-based disordered rocksalts (LDRs), which are an important class of positive electrode materials that can increase the energy density of current Li-ion batteries, represent a significantly complex chemical and configurational space for conventional density functional theory (DFT)-based high-throughput screening approaches. Notably, atom-centered machine-learned interatomic potentials (MLIPs) are a promising pathway to accurately model the potential energy surface of highly disordered chemical spaces, such as LDRs, where the performance of such MLIPs has not been rigorously explored yet. Here, we represent a comprehensive evaluation of the accuracy, transferability, and ease of training of five atom-centered MLIPs, including the artificial neural network potentials developed by the atomic energy network (AENET), the Gaussian approximation potential (GAP), the spectral neighbor analysis potential (SNAP) and its quadratic extension (qSNAP), and the moment tensor potential (MTP), in modeling a 11-component LDR chemical space. Specifically, we generate a DFT-calculated data set of 10,842 configurations of disordered LiTMO2 and TMO2 compositions, where TM = Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and/or Cu. To provide a point-of-comparison on the performance of atom-centered MLIPs, we also trained the neural equivariant interatomic potential (NequIP) on a subset of our data. Importantly, we find AENET to be the best potential in terms of accuracy and transferability for energy predictions, while MTP is the best for atomic forces. While AENET is the fastest to train among the MLIPs considered at low number of epochs (300), the training time increases significantly as epochs increase (3300), with a corresponding reduction in training errors (∼60%). Note that AENET and GAP tend to overfit in small data sets, with the extent of overfitting reducing with larger data sets. Finally, we observe AENET to provide reasonable predictions of average Li-intercalation voltages in layered, single-TM LiTMO2 frameworks, compared to DFT (∼10% error on average). Our study should pave the way both for discovering novel disordered rocksalt electrodes and for modeling other configurationally complex systems, such as high-entropy ceramics and alloys.

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