Our group works in the development and application of stateoftheart abinitio methods to systems of both fundamental and technological interest. Until 2014 the group was located at the Institut Lumière Matière, situated at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, in Lyon, France. Since then we are at the Institut für Physik of the MartinLutherUniversität HalleWittenberg. We are also members of the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility. We are also sponsored by the following institutions: 

Highlights (all highlights)
May 29, 2017
Predicting the stability of solids with machine learning
We perform a large scale benchmark of machine learning methods for
the prediction of the thermodynamical stability of solids. We start
by constructing a data set that comprises density functional theory
calculations of around 250000 cubic perovskite systems. This
includes all possible perovskite and antiperovskite crystals that
can be generated with elements from hydrogen to bismuth, and
neglecting rare gases and lanthanides. Incidentally, these
calculations already reveal a large number of systems (around 500)
that are thermodynamically stable, but that are not present in
crystal structure databases. Moreover, some of these phases have
unconventional compositions and define completely new families of
perovskites. This data set is then used to train and test a series
of machine learning algorithms to predict the energy distance to the convex
hull of stability. In particular, we study the performance of ridge
regression, random forests, extremely randomized trees (including
adaptive boosting), and neural networks. We find that extremely
randomized trees give the best results, achieving errors in the test
set of around 120 meV/atom when trained in 20000
prediction accuracy is not uniform across the periodic table, being
worse for firstrow elements and elements forming magnetic
compounds. Our results point to the fact that machine learning can be
successfully used to guide highthroughput density functional theory
calculations to speed up by at least a factor of 5 systematic
searches of new materials, without any degradation of the accuracy.
This work has just been accepted in Chemistry of Materials.
March 08, 2017
Highthroughput search of ternary chalcogenides for ptype transparent electrodes
Delafossite crystals are fascinating ternary oxides that have demonstrated transparent conductivity and ambipolar doping. We used a highthroughput approach based on density functional theory to find delafossite and related layered phases of composition ABX_{2}, where A and B are elements of the periodic table, and X is a chalcogen (O, S, Se, and Te). From the 15624 compounds studied in the trigonal delafossite prototype structure, 285 are within 50 meV/atom from the convex hull of stability. These compounds were further investigated using global structural prediction methods to obtain their lowestenergy crystal structure. We find 79 systems not present in the materials project database that are thermodynamically stable and crystallize in the delafossite or in closely related structures. These novel phases were then characterized by calculating their band gaps and hole effective masses. This characterization unveils a large diversity of properties, ranging from normal metals, magnetic metals, and some candidate compounds for ptype transparent electrodes.
This work has just been accepted for publication in Scientific Reports.
May 03, 2016
Prediction of a new topological crystalline insulator
Topological crystalline insulators are a type of topological insulators whose topological surface states are protected by a crystal symmetry, thus the surface gap can be tuned by applying strain or an electric field. In this paper we predicted by means of ab initio calculations a new phase of Bi which is a topological crystalline insulator characterized by a mirror Chern number nM = −2, but not a Z2 strong topological insulator. This system presents an exceptional property: at the (001) surface its Dirac cones are pinned at the surface highsymmetry points. As a consequence they are also protected by timereversal symmetry and can survive against weak disorder even if inplane mirror symmetry is broken at the surface. Taking advantage of this dual protection, we presented a strategy to tune the bandgap based on a topological phase transition unique to this system. Since the spintexture of these topological surface states reduces the backscattering in carrier transport, this effective bandengineering is expected to be suitable for electronic and optoelectronic devices with reduced dissipation.
This work has just been published in Scientific Reports.
May 03, 2016
Prediction and synthesis of a novel Bedoped Si clathrate
We used computational highthroughput techniques to study the thermodynamic stability
of ternary typeI Si clathrates. Two strategies to stabilize the structures were investigated:
through endohedral doping of the 2a and 6d
Wyckoff positions (located at the center of the
small and the large cages respectively), and by
substituting the Si 6c positions. Our results
agree with the overwhelming majority of experimental results, and predict a series of unknown clathrate phases. Many of the stable
phases can be explained by the simple ZintlKlemm rule, but some are unexpected. We then
successfully synthesized one of the latter compounds, a new typeI silicon clathrate containing Ba (inside the cages) and Be (in the 6c position). These results prove the predictive power
and reliability of our strategy, and motivate the
use of highthroughput screening of materials
properties for the accelerated discovery of new clathrate phases.
This work has just been accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials.
October 08, 2015
Insights into the modulation of light absorption by chlorophyll in green plants
Full first–principles calculations within the framework of real–space time–dependent density functional theory
have been performed for the complete chlorophyll (Chl) network of the light–harvesting complex from green plants, LHCII. A localdipole analysis method developed for this work has
made possible quantum–mechanical studies of the optical response of individual Chl molecules subject to the influence of
the remainder of the chromophore network. The sitespecific
alterations in Chl excitation energies support the existence of
distinct energy transfer pathways within the LHCII complex.
The spectra calculated with our real–space TDDFT method
support recent experimental work which suggested that nonspecific interactions with the protein microenvironment should
produce only minor changes in the absorption spectrum.
This article was chosen to illustrate the cover of vol 17, issue 40 of Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.