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Transferability of interatomic potentials for molybdenum and silicon
Interatomic potentials are widely used in computational materials science, in particular for simulations that are too computationally expensive for density functional theory (DFT). Most interatomic potentials have a limited application range and often there is very limited information available regarding their performance for specific simulations. We carried out high-throughput calculations for molybdenum and silicon with DFT and a number of interatomic potentials. We compare the DFT reference calculations and experimental data to the predictions of the interatomic potentials. We focus on a large number of basic materials properties, including the cohesive energy, atomic volume, elastic coefficients, vibrational properties, thermodynamic properties, surface energies and vacancy formation energies, which enables a detailed discussion of the performance of the different potentials. We further analyze correlations between properties as obtained from DFT calculations and how interatomic potentials reproduce these correlations, and suggest a general measure for quantifying the accuracy and transferability of an interatomic potential. From our analysis we do not establish a clearcut ranking of the potentials as each potential has its strengths and weaknesses. It is therefore essential to assess the properties of a potential carefully before application of the potential in a specific simulation. The data presented here will be useful for selecting a potential for simulations of Mo or Si.