ChemSpaX: Exploration of Chemical Space by Automated Functionalization of Molecular Scaffold



Exploration of the local chemical space of molecular scaffolds by post-functionalization (PF) is a promising route to discover novel molecules with desired structure and function. PF with rationally chosen substituents based on known electronic and steric properties is a commonly used experimental and computational strategy in screening, design and optimization of catalytic scaffolds. Automated generation of reasonably accurate geometric representations of post-functionalized molecular scaffolds is highly desirable for data-driven applications. However, automated PF of transition metal (TM) complexes remains challenging. In this work a Python-based workflow, ChemSpaX, that is aimed at automating the PF of a given molecular scaffold with special emphasis on TMcomplexes, is introduced. In three representative applications of ChemSpaX by comparing with DFT and DFT-B calculations, we show that the generated structures have a reasonable quality for use in computational screening applications. Furthermore, we show thatChemSpaXgenerated geometries can be used in machine learning applications to accurately predict DFT computed HOMO-LUMO gaps for transition metal complexes.ChemSpaXis open-source and aims to bolster and democratize the efforts of the scientific community towards data-driven chemical discovery.

Version notes

Added some more details about comparison with similar tools; more details about computational model and methods have been added.