Spherically symmetric atom-centered descriptors of atomic environments have been widely used for constructing potential or free energy surfaces of atomistic and colloidal systems and to characterize local structures using machine learning techniques. However, when particle shapes are non-spherical, as in the case of rods and ellipsoids, standard spherically symmetric structure functions alone produce imprecise descriptions of local environments. In order to account for the effects of orientation, we introduce two- and three-body orientation-dependent particle-centered descriptors for systems composed of rod-like particles. To demonstrate the suitability of the proposed functions, we use an efficient feature selection scheme and simple linear regression to construct coarse-grained many-body interaction potentials for computationally efficient simulations of model systems consisting of colloidal particles with an anisotropic shape: mixtures of colloidal rods and non-adsorbing polymer coils, hard rods enclosed by an elastic microgel shell, and ligand-stabilized nanorods. We validate the machine-learning (ML) effective many-body potentials based on orientation-dependent symmetry functions by using them in direct coexistence simulations to map out the phase behavior of colloidal rods and non-adsorbing polymer coils. We find good agreement with the results obtained from simulations of the true binary mixture, demonstrating that the effective interactions are well described by the orientation-dependent ML potentials.
A fast algorithm to calculate dm,ij for two bodies of spherocylindrical symmetry has been described by Vega and Lago.54