Accurate Many-Body Repulsive Potentials for Density-Functional Tight Binding from Deep Tensor Neural Networks

J Phys Chem Lett. 2020 Aug 20;11(16):6835-6843. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c01307. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


We combine density-functional tight binding (DFTB) with deep tensor neural networks (DTNN) to maximize the strengths of both approaches in predicting structural, energetic, and vibrational molecular properties. The DTNN is used to construct a nonlinear model for the localized many-body interatomic repulsive energy, which so far has been treated in an atom-pairwise manner in DFTB. Substantially improving upon standard DFTB and DTNN, the resulting DFTB-NNrep model yields accurate predictions of atomization and isomerization energies, equilibrium geometries, vibrational frequencies, and dihedral rotation profiles for a large variety of organic molecules compared to the hybrid DFT-PBE0 functional. Our results highlight the potential of combining semiempirical electronic-structure methods with physically motivated machine learning approaches for predicting localized many-body interactions. We conclude by discussing future advancements of the DFTB-NNrep approach that could enable chemically accurate electronic-structure calculations for systems with tens of thousands of atoms.