Quantum Mechanics Enables "Freedom of Design" in Molecular Property Space

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


Rational design of molecules with targeted properties requires understanding quantum-mechanical (QM) structure-property/property-property relationships (SPR/PPR) across chemical compound space. We analyze these relationships using the QM7-X dataset---which includes multiple QM properties for ~4.2 M equilibrium and non-equilibrium structures of small (primarily organic) molecules. Instead of providing simple SPR/PPR that strictly follow physicochemical intuition, our analysis uncovers substantial flexibility in molecular property space (MPS) when searching for a single molecule with a desired pair of QM properties or distinct molecules with a targeted set of QM properties. As proof-of-concept, we used Pareto multi-property optimization to search for the most promising (i.e., highly polarizable and electrically stable) molecules for polymeric battery materials; without prior knowledge of this complex manifold of MPS, Pareto front analysis reflected this intrinsic flexibility and identified small directed structural/compositional changes that simultaneously optimize these properties. Our analysis of such extensive QM property data provides compelling evidence for an intrinsic “freedom of design” in MPS, and indicates that rational design of molecules with a diverse array of targeted QM properties is quite feasible.


Quantum Mechanics
Molecular Design
Physicochemical properties
Pareto Front

Supplementary materials

Additional results of QM7-X molecular property space
Additional results supporting this analysis of the high-dimensional QM7-X molecular property space.

Supplementary weblinks


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.