Reorganization energies of flexible organic molecules as a challenging target for machine learning enhanced virtual screening

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


The molecular reorganization energy $\lambda$ strongly influences the charge carrier mobility of organic semiconductors and is therefore an important target for molecular design. Machine learning (ML) models generally have the potential to strongly accelerate this design process (e.g. in virtual screening studies) by providing fast and accurate estimates of molecular properties. While such models are well established for simple properties (e.g. the atomization energy), $\lambda$ poses a significant challenge in this context. In this paper, we address the questions of how ML models for $\lambda$ can be improved and what their benefit is in high-throughput virtual screening (HTVS) studies. We find that, while improved predictive accuracy can be obtained relative to a semiempirical baseline model, the improvement in molecular discovery is somewhat marginal. In particular, the ML enhanced screenings are more effective in identifying promising candidates but lead to a less diverse sample. We further use substructure analysis to derive a general design rule for organic molecules with low $\lambda$ from the HTVS results.


Machine Learning
Organic Semiconductors
Reorganization Energy
High-Throughput Virtual Screening


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