The Interplay among Molecular Structures, Crystal Symmetries and Lattice Energy Landscapes Revealed by Unsupervised Machine Learning: A Closer Look at Pyrrole Azaphenacenes

2019-07-26T14:54:02Z (GMT) by Jack Yang Nathan Li Sean Li
The ability to perform large-scale crystal structure predictions (CSP) have significantly advanced the synthesis of functional molecular solids by designs. In our recent work [Chem. Mater., 30, 4361 (2018)], we demonstrated our latest developments in organic CSPs by screening a set of 28 pyrrole azaphenacene isomers which led to one new molecule with higher thermodynamic stability and carrier mobilities in its crystalline form, compared to the one reported experimentally. Hereby, using the lattice energy landscapes for pyrrole azaphenacenes as examples, we applied machine-learning techniques to statistically reveal in more details, on how molecular symmetry and Z' values translate to the crystal packing landscapes, which in terms affect the coverage of landscape through quasi-random crystal structure samplings. A recurring theme in crystal engineering is to identify the probabilities of targeting isostructures to a specific reference crystal upon chemical functionalisations. For this, we propose here a global similarity index in conjunction with the Energy-Density Isostructurality (EDI) map to analyse the lattice energy landscapes for halogen substituted pyrrole azaphenacenes. A continue effort in the field is to accelerate CSPs for sampling a much wider chemical space for high-throughput material screenings, we propose a potential solution to this challenge drawn upon this study. Our work will hopefully stimulate the crystal engineering community in adapting a more statistically-oriented approach in understanding crystal packing of organic molecules in the age of digitisation.