From Molecular Fragments to the Bulk: Development of a Neural Network Potential for MOF-5

M Eckhoff and J Behler, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION, 15, 3793-3809 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b01288

The development of first-principles-quality reactive atomistic potentials for organic inorganic hybrid materials is still a substantial challenge because of the very different physics of the atomic interactions from covalent via ionic bonding to dispersion that have to be described in an accurate and balanced way. In this work we used a prototypical metal organic framework, MOF-5, as a benchmark case to investigate the applicability of high-dimensional neural network potentials (HDNNPs) to this class of materials. In HDNNPs, which belong to the class of machine learning potentials, the energy is constructed as a sum of environment-dependent atomic energy contributions. We demonstrate that by the use of this approach it is possible to obtain a high-quality potential for the periodic MOF-5 crystal using density functional theory (DFT) reference calculations of small molecular fragments only. The resulting HDNNP, which has a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 1.6 meV/atom for the energies of molecular fragments not included in the training set, is able to provide the equilibrium lattice constant of the bulk MOF-5 structure with an error of about 0.1% relative to DFT, and also, the negative thermal expansion behavior is accurately predicted. The total energy RMSE of periodic structures that are completely absent in the training set is about 6.5 meV/atom, with errors on the order of 2 meV/atom for energy differences. We show that in contrast to energy differences, achieving a high accuracy for total energies requires careful variation of the stoichiometries of the training structures to avoid energy offsets, as atomic energies are not physical observables. The forces, which have RMSEs of about 94 meV/a(0) for the molecular fragments and 130 meV/a(0) for bulk structures not included in the training set, are insensitive to such offsets. Therefore, forces, which are the relevant properties for molecular dynamics simulations, provide a realistic estimate of the accuracy of atomistic potentials.

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