Optimization-based framework for computer-aided molecular design



A new framework to automate, augment, and accelerate steps in computer-aided molecular design is presented. The problem is tackled in three stages: (1) composition design, (2) structure determination, and (3) extended design. Composition identification and structure determination are decoupled to achieve computational efficiency. Using approximate group-contribution methods in the first stage, molecular compositions that fit design targets are identified. In the second stage, isomer structures of solution compositions are determined systematically, and structure-based property corrections are used to refine the solution pool. In the final stage, the design is extended beyond the scope of group-contribution methods by using problem-specific property models. At each design stage, novel optimization models and graph theoretic algorithms generate a large and diverse pool of candidates using an assortment of property models. The wide applicability and computational efficiency of the proposed methodology are illustrated through three case studies. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 3686–3701, 2013