Troubleshooting unstable molecules in chemical space†
A key challenge in automated chemical compound space explorations is ensuring veracity in minimum energy geometries—to preserve intended bonding connectivities. We discuss an iterative high-throughput workflow for connectivity preserving geometry optimizations exploiting the nearness between quantum mechanical models. The methodology is benchmarked on the QM9 dataset comprising DFT-level properties of 133 885 small molecules, wherein 3054 have questionable geometric stability. Of these, we successfully troubleshoot 2988 molecules while maintaining a bijective mapping with the Lewis formulae. Our workflow, based on DFT and post-DFT methods, identifies 66 molecules as unstable; 52 contain –NNO–, and the rest are strained due to pyramidal sp2 C. In the curated dataset, we inspect molecules with long C–C bonds and identify ultralong candidates (r > 1.70 Å) supported by topological analysis of electron density. The proposed strategy can aid in minimizing unintended structural rearrangements during quantum chemistry big data generation.