Accurate, Automated Density Functional Theory for Complex Molecules Using On-the-fly Error Correction

12 October 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


High-throughput density functional theory (DFT) has been widely utilized to study a variety of materials and molecular properties. However, its application to complex molecular systems, including those relevant to electrochemical reactivity and decomposition, has been limited by insufficient automation.Here, we report a broadly applicable, automated framework for the accurate and robust DFT calculation of molecules, capable of addressing species relevant to electrochemistry. This framework is specifically designed to study molecules with different charge states, open-shell electronic structure, metal coordination, and implicit solvation. We first identify appropriate levels of theory that avoid calculation failures and accurately predict molecular redox potentials. We then describe our framework, including methods to automatically detect and correct errors and to optimize structures from saddle points to potential energy surface minima. To demonstrate the efficacy of this framework, we examine a case study including over 12,000 calculations of reactive molecular fragments. This framework is able to reduce the rate of failure for DFT calculations from 25.1% to 1.2%, significantly improving the degree of automation possible for high-throughput molecular DFT.


density functional theory
solid electrolyte interphase
reduction potential
molecular modeling
high-throughput computing
reactive molecules
error-correction methods
level of theory
geometry optimization
chemical complexity
metal coordination geometry
implicit solvent models
Charged Molecules

Supplementary materials

blau spotte smith accurate si


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.