NeuralNEB – Neural Networks can find Reaction Paths Fast

by   Mathias Schreiner, et al.

Quantum mechanical methods like Density Functional Theory (DFT) are used with great success alongside efficient search algorithms for studying kinetics of reactive systems. However, DFT is prohibitively expensive for large scale exploration. Machine Learning (ML) models have turned out to be excellent emulators of small molecule DFT calculations and could possibly replace DFT in such tasks. For kinetics, success relies primarily on the models capability to accurately predict the Potential Energy Surface (PES) around transition-states and Minimal Energy Paths (MEPs). Previously this has not been possible due to scarcity of relevant data in the literature. In this paper we train state of the art equivariant Graph Neural Network (GNN)-based models on around 10.000 elementary reactions from the Transition1x dataset. We apply the models as potentials for the Nudged Elastic Band (NEB) algorithm and achieve a Mean Average Error (MAE) of 0.13+/-0.03 eV on barrier energies on unseen reactions. We compare the results against equivalent models trained on QM9 and ANI1x. We also compare with and outperform Density Functional based Tight Binding (DFTB) on both accuracy and computational resource. The implication is that ML models, given relevant data, are now at a level where they can be applied for downstream tasks in quantum chemistry transcending prediction of simple molecular features.


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