Organic electronics offer a route toward electronically active biocompatible soft materials capable of interfacing with biological and living systems. One class of promising organic electronic materials are π-conjugated peptides, synthetic molecules comprising an aromatic core flanked by oligopeptides, that can be engineered to self-assemble into elongated nanostructures with emergent optoelectronic functionality. In this work, we combine molecular dynamics simulations with electronic structure and charge transport calculations to computationally screen for high charge mobility π-conjugated peptides and to elucidate design rules linking aromatic core character with charge mobility. We consider within our screening library variations in the aromatic core chemistry and length of the alkyl chains connecting the oligopeptide wings to the core. After completing our computational screen we identify particular π-conjugated peptides capable of producing self-assembled biocompatible nanoaggregates with predicted hole mobilities of 0.224 cm^2/(Vs) and electron mobilities of 0.143 cm^2/(Vs), and uncover design rules that enhance understanding of the molecular determinants of charge mobility within π-conjugated peptide assemblies.
Hybrid computational–experimental data-driven design of self-assembling π-conjugated peptides
Biocompatible molecules with electronic functionality provide a promising substrate for biocompatible electronic devices and electronic interfacing with biological systems. Synthetic oligopeptides composed of an aromatic π-core flanked by oligopeptide wings are a class of molecules that can self-assemble in aqueous environments into supramolecular nanoaggregates with emergent optical and electronic activity. We present an integrated computational–experimental pipeline employing all-atom molecular dynamics simulations and experimental UV-visible spectroscopy within an active learning workflow using deep representational learning and multi-objective and multi-fidelity Bayesian optimization to design π-conjugated peptides programmed to self-assemble into elongated pseudo-1D nanoaggregates with a high degree of H-type co-facial stacking of the π-cores. We consider as our design space the 694 982 unique π-conjugated peptides comprising a quaterthiophene π-core flanked by symmetric oligopeptide wings up to five amino acids in length. After sampling only 1181 molecules (∼0.17% of the design space) by computation and 28 (∼0.004%) by experiment, we identify and experimentally validate a diversity of previously unknown high-performing molecules and extract interpretable design rules linking peptide sequence to emergent supramolecular structure and properties.
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- Digital Discovery
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