Explicit Multielement Extension of the Spectral Neighbor Analysis Potential for Chemically Complex Systems

M. A. Cusentino, M. A. Wood, and A. P. Thompson, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 124, 5456-5464 (2020).

A natural extension of the descriptors used in the Spectral Neighbor Analysis Potential (SNAP) method is derived to treat atomic interactions in chemically complex systems. Atomic environment descriptors within SNAP are obtained from a basis function expansion of the weighted density of neighboring atoms. This new formulation instead partitions the neighbor density into partial densities for each chemical element, thus leading to explicit multielement descriptors. For Nelem chemical elements, the number of descriptors increases as O(Nelem^3), while the computational cost elem of the force calculation as implemented in LAMMPS is limited to O(Nelem^2) and the favorable linear scaling in the number of atoms is retained. We demonstrate these chemically aware descriptors by producing an interatomic potential for indium phosphide capable of capturing high-energy defects that result from radiation damage cascades. This new explicit multielement SNAP method reproduces the relaxed defect formation energies with substantially greater accuracy than weighted-density SNAP, while retaining accurate representation of the bulk indium phosphide properties.

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