Universal ML model for GB energies

Weike’s swansong project in our group on “A Universal Machine Learning Model for Elemental Grain Boundary Energies” has just been published in Scripta Materialia! The grain boundary (GB) energy has a profound influence on the grain growth and properties of polycrystalline metals. Here, we show that the energy of a GB, normalized by the bulk cohesive energy, can be described purely by four geometric features to within a mean absolute error of 0.13 Jm-2 . More importantly, this universal GB energy model can be extrapolated to the energies of high Σ GBs without loss in accuracy. These results highlight the importance of capturing fundamental scaling physics and domain knowledge in the design of interpretable, extrapolatable machine learning models for ma­terials science.

Check out this work here.

MRS Spring 2022: Design of Alkali Superionic Conductors with Machine Learning

Prof Ong gave a talk on Design of Alkali Superionic Conductors with ML at the MRS Spring 2022 meeting. In this talk, he highlights how new developments in using ML to construct interatomic potentials can greatly extend the accessible time and length scales in simulations, which can in turn lead to improved accuracy and new insights into the behavior of alkali superionic conductors. He also talks about the development of a universal graph potential for the periodic table utilizing data on structural relaxations performed by the Materials Project over the past 10 years.

Efficient near-infrared phosphors

Efficient near-infrared (NIR) LEDs are used in many applications, including medical diagnostics, food detection, security monitoring, and machine vision. In this collaborative work with the group of Prof Rong-jun Xie at Xiamen University published in Matter, Mahdi Amachraa developed descriptors of the Eu(II)-host interactions to predict the 5d-to-4f energy gap with a RMSE of 7.0 nm. By incorporating this predictor into a high-throughput screening of 223 nitride materials in the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database, we identified and experimentally validated (Sr,Ba)3Li4Si2N6:Eu(II) with NIR emissions of 800- 830 nm and high quantum efficiencies (QEs) of 30%-40%. This NIR emitter has 3x more power than prevailing NIR emitters. We demonstrate that the ultralong emission wavelength and high QE stem from a coordinated energy transfer and an optimized electronic delocalization around Eu(II).

Check out this work here.

DRX Li3Nb2O5 Electrode

Our collaborative work with the group of Prof Claire Xiong on “Electrochemically induced amorphous-to-rock-salt phase transformation in niobium oxide electrode for Li-ion batteries” has been published in Nature Materials! In this work, we report a nanostructured rock-salt Nb2O5 electrode formed through an amorphous-to-crystalline transformation during repeated electrochemical cycling with Li+. This electrode can reversibly cycle three lithiums per Nb2O5, corresponding to a capacity of 269 mAh/g at 20 mA/g, and retains a capacity of 191 mAh/g at a high rate of 1 A/g. The main contribution from Yunxing Zuo of the Materials Virtual Lab is using DFT computations to show that the cubic rock-salt framework promotes the percolation of low-energy migration paths. We also develop a computable metric to identify other transition metal oxides with a likelihood of rock-salt formation. Our work suggests that inducing crystallization of amorphous nanomaterials through electrochemical cycling is a promising avenue for creating unconventional high-performance metal oxide electrode materials.

Check out the publication here.

Congratulations to Swastika!

Congratulations to group alumni, Swastika Banerjee, on starting her assistant professorship at Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee! We wish her all the best in her scientific career!

MxLa1-xSiO2-yNz Full-Visible Spectrum Phosphors

Mahdi’s collaborative work with the group of Prof Rong-jun Xie on “MxLa1−xSiO2−yNz (M = Ca/Sr/Ba): Elucidating and Tuning the Structure and Eu2+ Local Environments to Develop Full-Visible Spectrum Phosphors” has just been published in Chemistry of Materials! The local environments of rare-earth activators have profound effects on the luminescent properties of phosphors. Here, we elucidate the crystal structure of the LaSiO2N phosphor host using a combination of density functional theory calculations and synchrotron Xray diffraction. We determine that LaSiO2N crystallizes in the monoclinic C2/c instead of the hexagonal P6̅c2 space group. To improve the luminescence performance, divalent cations M (M = Ca/Sr/Ba) were introduced into LaSiO2N to eliminate Eu3+. A family of apatite M1+xLa4−xSi3O13−x/2:Eu2+ (x ∼ 1.5, M = Ca/Sr/Ba) phosphors was further developed with unprecedented ultra-broadband (290 nm) emission spectra and excellent thermal stability. Detailed local environment investigations reveal that the formation of oxygen vacancies within and beyond the first shell environment of Eu2+ is responsible for the redshift and broadening of the emission spectra via geometrical alteration of the Eu2+ local environment. This work provides new insights for understanding and optimizing the luminescence of rare-earth phosphors.

Check out this work here.

Associate Editor of ACS Materials Letters

ACS Materials Letters

Prof Ong has been appointed Associate Editor of ACS Materials Letters with effect from Feb 1 2022. ACS Materials Letters publishes high quality and urgent papers on the forefront of fundamental and applied research, at the interface between materials and other disciplines, such as chemistry, engineering and biology. Papers that showcase multidisciplinary and innovative materials research addressing global challenges are especially welcome.

Highly Cited Researcher 2021

Prof Ong has been identified by Clarivate as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2021! Each year, Clarivate identifies the world’s most influential researchers ─ the select few who have been most frequently cited by their peers over the last decade. In 2021, fewer than 6,700, or about 0.1%, of the world’s researchers, in 21 research fields and across multiple fields, have earned this exclusive distinction.

AtomSets – using graph networks as an encoder


Graph networks are an extremely powerful deep learning tool for predicting materials properties. However, a critical weakness is their reliance on large quantities of training data. In this work published in npj Computational Materials, Dr Chi Chen shows that pre-trained MEGNet formation energy models can be effectively used as “encoders” for crystals in what we call the AtomSets framework. The compositional and structural descriptors extracted from graph network deep learning models, combined with standard artificial neural network models, can achieve lower errors than the graph network models at small data limits and other non-deep-learning models at large data limits. AtomSets also transfer better in a simulated materials discovery process where the targeted materials have property values out of the training data limits, require minimal domain knowledge inputs and are free from feature engineering.

Check out this work here.