: A general method to obtain a representation of the structural landscape of nanoparticles in terms of a limited number of variables is proposed. The method is applied to a large data set of parallel tempering molecular dynamics simulations of gold clusters of 90 and 147 atoms, silver clusters of 147 atoms, and copper clusters of 147 atoms, covering a plethora of structures and temperatures. The method leverages convolutional neural networks to learn the radial distribution functions of the nanoclusters and distills a low-dimensional chart of the structural landscape. This strategy is found to give rise to a physically meaningful and differentiable mapping of the atom positions to a low-dimensional manifold in which the main structural motifs are clearly discriminated and meaningfully ordered. Furthermore, unsupervised clustering on the low-dimensional data proved effective at further splitting the motifs into structural subfamilies characterized by very fine and physically relevant differences such as the presence of specific punctual or planar defects or of atoms with particular coordination features. Owing to these peculiarities, the chart also enabled tracking of the complex structural evolution in a reactive trajectory. In addition to visualization and analysis of complex structural landscapes, the presented approach offers a general, low-dimensional set of differentiable variables that has the potential to be used for exploration and enhanced sampling purposes.
Charting Nanocluster Structures via Convolutional Neural Networks / Telari, Emanuele; Tinti, Antonio; Settem, Manoj; Maragliano, Luca; Ferrando, Riccardo; Giacomello, Alberto. - In: ACS NANO. - ISSN 1936-0851. - (2023). [10.1021/acsnano.3c05653]