Multi-fidelity prediction of molecular optical peaks with deep learning

15 October 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Optical properties are central to molecular design for many applications, including solar cells and biomedical imaging. A variety of ab initio and statistical methods have been developed for their prediction, each with a trade-off between accuracy, generality, and cost. Existing theoretical methods such as time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) are generalizable across chemical space because of their robust physics-based foundations but still exhibit random and systematic errors with respect to experiment despite their high computational cost. Statistical methods can achieve high accuracy at a lower cost, but data sparsity and unoptimized molecule and solvent representations often limit their ability to generalize. Here, we utilize directed message passing neural networks (D-MPNNs) to represent both dye molecules and solvents for predictions of molecular absorption peaks in solution. Additionally, we demonstrate a multi-fidelity approach based on an auxiliary model trained on over 28,000 TD-DFT calculations that further improves accuracy and generalizability, as shown through rigorous splitting strategies. Combining several openly-available experimental datasets, we benchmark these methods against a state-of-the-art regression tree algorithm and compare the D-MPNN solvent representation to several alternatives. Finally, we explore the interpretability of the learned representations using dimensionality reduction and evaluate the use of ensemble variance as an estimator of the epistemic uncertainty in our predictions of molecular peak absorption in solution. The prediction methods proposed herein can be integrated with active learning, generative modeling, and experimental workflows to enable the more rapid design of molecules with targeted optical properties.


machine learning
absorption spectra
deep learning
photophysical properties

Supplementary weblinks


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