Detecting strong correlation with ML

Despite its widespread use in chemical discovery, approximate density functional theory (DFT) is poorly suited to many targets, such as those containing open-shell, 3d transition metals that can be expected to have strong multi-reference (MR) character. For discovery workflows to be predictive, we need automated, low-cost methods that can distinguish the regions of chemical space where DFT should be applied from those where it should not. We curate over 4,800 open-shell transition-metal complexes up to hundreds of atoms in size from prior high-throughput DFT studies and evaluate affordable, finite-temperature DFT evaluation of fractional occupation number (FON)-based MR diagnostics. We show that intuitive measures of strong correlation (i.e., the HOMO–LUMO gap) are not predictive of MR character as judged by FON-based diagnostics. Analysis of independently trained machine learning (ML) models to predict HOMO–LUMO gaps and FON-based diagnostics reveals differences in metal- and ligand-sensitivity of the two quantities. We use our trained ML models to rapidly evaluate MR character over a space of ca. 187,000 theoretical complexes, identifying large-scale trends in spin-state-dependent MR character and finding small HOMO–LUMO gap complexes while ensuring low MR character.

Check out our recent paper in J. Phys. Chem. Lett. here!

About Us

The Kulik group focuses on the development and application of new electronic structure methods and atomistic simulations tools in the broad area of catalysis.

Our Interests

We are interested in transition metal chemistry, with applications from biological systems (i.e. enzymes) to nonbiological applications in surface science and molecular catalysis.

Our Focus

A key focus of our group is to understand mechanistic features of complex catalysts and to facilitate and develop tools for computationally driven design.

Contact Us

Questions or comments? Let us know! Contact Dr. Kulik: