Data-efficient modeling of catalytic reactions via enhanced sampling and on-the-fly learning of machine learning potentials

06 June 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Simulating catalytic reactivity under operative conditions poses a significant challenge due to the dynamic nature of the catalysts and the high computational cost of electronic structure calculations. Machine learning potentials offer a promising avenue to simulate dynamics at a fraction of the cost, but they require datasets containing all relevant configurations, particularly reactive ones. Here we present a scheme to construct reactive potentials in a data-efficient manner. This is achieved by combining enhanced sampling methods first with Gaussian processes to discover transition paths and then with graph neural networks to obtain a uniformly accurate description. The necessary configurations are extracted via an active learning procedure based on local environment uncertainty. We validated our approach by studying several reactions related to the decomposition of ammonia on iron-cobalt alloy catalysts. Our scheme proved efficient, requiring only ~1,000 DFT calculations per reaction, and robust, sampling reactive configurations from the different accessible pathways. Using this potential, we calculated free energy profiles and characterized reaction mechanisms, showing the ability to provide microscopic insights into complex processes under dynamic conditions.


machine learning potentials
enhanced sampling
active learning
heterogeneous catalysis

Supplementary materials

Supporting Material
Supplementary results


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