American Chemical Society
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Assessing Density Functional Theory for Chemically Relevant Open-Shell Transition Metal Reactions

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posted on 2021-09-21, 18:38 authored by Leonard R. Maurer, Markus Bursch, Stefan Grimme, Andreas Hansen
Due to the principle lack of systematic improvement possibilities of density functional theory, careful assessment of the performance of density functional approximations (DFAs) on well-designed benchmark sets, for example, for reaction energies and barrier heights, is crucial. While main-group chemistry is well covered by several available sets, benchmark data for transition metal chemistry is sparse. This is especially the case for larger, chemically relevant molecules. Addressing this issue, we recently introduced the MOR41 benchmark which covers chemically relevant reactions of closed-shell complexes. In this work, we extend these efforts to single-reference open-shell systems and introduce the “reactions of open-shell single-reference transition metal complexes” (ROST61) benchmark set. ROST61 includes accurate coupled-cluster reference values for 61 reaction energies with a mean reaction energy of −42.8 kcal mol–1. Complexes with 13–93 atoms covering 20 d-block elements are included, but due to the restriction to single-reference open-shell systems, important elements such as iron or platinum could not be taken into account, or only to a small extent. We assess the performance of 31 DFAs in combination with three London dispersion (LD) correction schemes. Further, DFT-based composite methods, MP2, and a few semiempirical quantum chemical methods are evaluated. Consistent with the results for the MOR41 closed-shell benchmark, we find that the ordering of DFAs according to Jacob’s ladder is preserved and that adding an LD correction is crucial, clearly improving almost all tested methods. The recently introduced r2SCAN-3c composite method stands out with a remarkable mean absolute deviation (MAD) of only 2.9 kcal mol–1, which is surpassed only by hybrid DFAs with low amounts of Fock exchange (e.g., 2.3 kcal mol–1 for TPSS0-D4/def2-QZVPP) and double-hybrid (DH) DFAs but at a significantly higher computational cost. The lowest MAD of only 1.6 kcal mol–1 is obtained with the DH DFA PWPB95-D4 in the def2-QZVPP basis set approaching the estimated accuracy of the reference method. Overall, the ROST61 set adds important reference data to a sparsely sampled but practically relevant area of chemistry. At this point, it provides valuable orientation for the application and development of new DFAs and electronic structure methods in general.