Interpretable Machine Learning Models for Practical Antimonate Electrocatalyst Performance

Shyam Deo, Melissa Kreider, Gaurav Kamat, McKenzie Hubert, José A. Zamora Zeledón, Lingze Wei, Jesse Matthews, Nathaniel Keyes, Ishaan Singh, Thomas Jaramillo, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Michaela Burke Stevens, Kirsten Winther, Johannes Voss
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Computationally predicting the performance of catalysts under reaction conditions is a challenging task due to the complexity of catalytic surfaces and their evolution in situ, different reaction paths, and the presence of solid-liquid interfaces in the case of electrochemistry. We demonstrate here how relatively simple machine learning models can be found that enable prediction of experimentally observed onset potentials. Inputs to our model are comprised of data from the oxygen reduction reaction on non-precious transition-metal antimony oxide nanoparticulate catalysts with a combination of experimental conditions and computationally affordable bulk atomic and electronic structural descriptors from density functional theory simulations. From human-interpretable genetic programming models, we identify key experimental descriptors and key supplemental bulk electronic and atomic structural descriptors that govern trends in onset potentials for these oxides and deduce how these descriptors should be tuned to increase onset potentials. We finally validate these machine learning predictions by experimentally confirming that scandium as a dopant in nickel antimony oxide leads to a desired onset potential increase. Macroscopic experimental factors are found to be crucially important descriptors to be considered for models of catalytic performance, highlighting the important role machine learning can play here even in the presence of small datasets.

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