Publications / Journal Article

Data-driven material models for atomistic simulation

Wood, M.A.; Cusentino, Mary A.; Wirth, B.D.; Thompson, Aidan P.

The central approximation made in classical molecular dynamics simulation of materials is the interatomic potential used to calculate the forces on the atoms. Great effort and ingenuity is required to construct viable functional forms and find accurate parametrizations for potentials using traditional approaches. Machine learning has emerged as an effective alternative approach to develop accurate and robust interatomic potentials. Starting with a very general model form, the potential is learned directly from a database of electronic structure calculations and therefore can be viewed as a multiscale link between quantum and classical atomistic simulations. Risk of inaccurate extrapolation exists outside the narrow range of time and length scales where the two methods can be directly compared. In this work, we use the spectral neighbor analysis potential (SNAP) and show how a fit can be produced with minimal interpolation errors which is also robust in extrapolating beyond training. To demonstrate the method, we have developed a tungsten-beryllium potential suitable for the full range of binary compositions. Subsequently, large-scale molecular dynamics simulations were performed of high energy Be atom implantation onto the (001) surface of solid tungsten. The machine learned W-Be potential generates a population of implantation structures consistent with quantum calculations of defect formation energies. A very shallow (<2nm) average Be implantation depth is predicted which may explain ITER diverter degradation in the presence of beryllium.