Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Accelerated dinuclear palladium catalyst identification through unsupervised machine learning

Julian A. Hueffel, Theresa Sperger, Ignacio Funes-Ardoiz, Jas S. Ward, Kari Rissanen, Franziska Schoenebeck (2021)
Highlighted by Jan Jensen

Figure 1 from the paper. (c) 2021 the authors.

I've been meaning to highlight this paper for years but forgot. However, in the last week k-means clustering came up twice in two completely unrelated contexts, which reminded me of this beautiful paper where the authors managed to use ML to make successful predictions based only five data points! 

Pd catalysts can exist in either in a dimer or monomer form depending on the ligands and there are no heuristic rules for predicting what form will be favoured by a particular ligand. Even DFT-computed dimerization energies fail to give inconsistent predictions.

The authors started with a database of 348 ligands each characterised with 28 different descriptors, which were dived into eight groups by k-mean clustering of the descriptors. The four ligands known to favour dimer formation where found in two clusters, with a combined size of 89 ligands. The prediction is thus that these 89 ligands are more likely to favour dimer formation, compared to the other 256. 

The authors decided to focus on the 66 ligands in the 89 subset that contain P-C bonds and computed 42 new DFT-computed descriptors that explicitly address dimer formation, such as the dimerization energy. Based these and the old descriptors the authors grouped the 66 ligands into six clusters, where two of the clusters, with a combined size of 25, contained the four known dimer-ligands. The prediction is this that the other 21 ligands also should form dimers.

It's a little unclear, but from I can tell the authors then experimentally tested nine of the 21 ligands, of which seven formed dimers. That's a very good hit rate starting from five data points!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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