Ab initio to activity: Machine learning assisted optimization of high-entropy alloy catalytic activity

Christian M. Clausen, Martin L. S. Nielsen, Jack K. Pedersen and Jan Rossmeisl

ChemRxiv, 2022, https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-vvrrf

Project files: Database of DFT calculations

GitHub repository: CHEAT

High-entropy alloys are slowly making their debut as a platform for catalyst discovery, but conventional methods, theoretical as well as experimental, may fall short of screening the vast composition space inhabited by this class of materials. New theoretical approaches are needed to gauge the catalytic activity of high-entropy alloys and optimize the alloy composition within a feasible time frame as a prerequisite for further experimental studies.

Herein, we establish a workflow for simulations of catalysis on high-entropy alloy surfaces. For each step of the modeling we present our choice of method, however, we also acknowledge that alternative options are available.

We apply the developed methodology to predict the net catalytic activity of any alloy composition, within the composition space spanned by Ag-Ir-Pd-Pt-Ru, for the oxygen reduction reaction. Based on first-principle calculations, a graph convolution neural network is used to predict adsorption energies of *OH and *O. Subsequently, taking competitive co-adsorption of reaction intermediates into account, we couple the net adsorption energy distribution of a high-entropy alloy surface to the expected current density. Lastly, this procedure is used in conjunction with a Bayesian optimization scheme to search for optimal alloy compositions, which yields several promising compositions. 

This result shows that an unbiased in silico pre-screening and discovery of catalyst candidates is viable and will help scale the otherwise insurmountable challenge of searching for high-entropy alloy catalysts. It is our hope that our computational framework, which is freely available on GitHub, will aid other research groups to efficiently identify promising high-entropy alloy catalysts.