Accurate Prediction of NMR Chemical Shifts: Integrating DFT Calculations with Three-Dimensional Graph Neural Networks

Chao Han, Dongdong Zhang, Song Xia, Yingkai Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computer prediction of NMR chemical shifts plays an increasingly important role in molecular structure assignment and elucidation for organic molecule studies. Density functional theory (DFT) and gauge-including atomic orbital (GIAO) have established a framework to predict NMR chemical shifts but often at a significant computational expense with a limited prediction accuracy. Recent advancements in deep learning methods, especially graph neural networks (GNNs), have shown promise in improving the accuracy of predicting experimental chemical shifts, either by using 2D molecular topological features or 3D conformational representation. This study presents a new 3D GNN model to predict 1H and 13C chemical shifts, CSTShift, that combines atomic features with DFT-calculated shielding tensor descriptors, capturing both isotropic and anisotropic shielding effects. Utilizing the NMRShiftDB2 data set and conducting DFT optimization and GIAO calculations at the B3LYP/6-31G(d) level, we prepared the NMRShiftDB2-DFT data set of high-quality 3D structures and shielding tensors with corresponding experimentally measured 1H and 13C chemical shifts. The developed CSTShift models achieve the state-of-the-art prediction performance on both the NMRShiftDB2-DFT test data set and external CHESHIRE data set. Further case studies on identifying correct structures from two groups of constitutional isomers show its capability for structure assignment and elucidation. The source code and data are accessible at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5250-5258
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of chemical theory and computation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 25 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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