Stress and heat flux via automatic differentiation

MF Langer and JT Frank and F Knoop, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 159, 174105 (2023).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0155760

Machine-learning potentials provide computationally efficient and accurate approximations of the Born-Oppenheimer potential energy surface. This potential determines many materials properties and simulation techniques usually require its gradients, in particular forces and stress for molecular dynamics, and heat flux for thermal transport properties. Recently developed potentials feature high body order and can include equivariant semi-local interactions through message-passing mechanisms. Due to their complex functional forms, they rely on automatic differentiation (AD), overcoming the need for manual implementations or finite-difference schemes to evaluate gradients. This study discusses how to use AD to efficiently obtain forces, stress, and heat flux for such potentials, and provides a model-independent implementation. The method is tested on the Lennard-Jones potential, and then applied to predict cohesive properties and thermal conductivity of tin selenide using an equivariant message-passing neural network potential.

Return to Publications page