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Machine learning based approach for solving atomic structures of nanomaterials combining pair distribution functions with density functional theory

Research output: Working paper/Preprint Preprint


Determination of crystal structures of nanocrystalline or amorphous compounds is a great challenge in solid states chemistry and physics. Pair distribution function (PDF) analysis of X-Ray or neutron total scattering data has proven to be a key element in tackling this challenge. However, in most cases a reliable structural motif is needed as starting configuration for structure refinements. Here, we present an algorithm that is able to determine the crystal structure of an unknown compound by means of an on-the-fly trained machine learning model that combines density functional theory (DFT) calculations with comparison of calculated and measured PDFs for global optimization in an artificial landscape. Due to the nature of this landscape, even metastable configurations can be determined.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2022

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