Machine learning hydrogen adsorption on nanoclusters through structural descriptors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Pages (from-to)1-8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Research units

  • Nanolayers Research Computing Ltd
  • Kanazawa University
  • Graduate School Materials Science in Mainz


Catalytic activity of the hydrogen evolution reaction on nanoclusters depends on diverse adsorption site structures. Machine learning reduces the cost for modelling those sites with the aid of descriptors. We analysed the performance of state-of-the-art structural descriptors Smooth Overlap of Atomic Positions, Many-Body Tensor Representation and Atom-Centered Symmetry Functions while predicting the hydrogen adsorption (free) energy on the surface of nanoclusters. The 2D-material molybdenum disulphide and the alloy copper–gold functioned as test systems. Potential energy scans of hydrogen on the cluster surfaces were conducted to compare the accuracy of the descriptors in kernel ridge regression. By having recourse to data sets of 91 molybdenum disulphide clusters and 24 copper–gold clusters, we found that the mean absolute error could be reduced by machine learning on different clusters simultaneously rather than separately. The adsorption energy was explained by the local descriptor Smooth Overlap of Atomic Positions, combining it with the global descriptor Many-Body Tensor Representation did not improve the overall accuracy. We concluded that fitting of potential energy surfaces could be reduced significantly by merging data from different nanoclusters.

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