Density-Functional Theory with Dispersion-Correcting Potentials for Methane: Bridging the Efficiency and Accuracy Gap between High-Level Wave Function and Classical Molecular Mechanics Methods
datasetposted on 13.08.2013, 00:00 by Edmanuel Torres, Gino A. DiLabio
Large clusters of noncovalently bonded molecules can only be efficiently modeled by classical mechanics simulations. One prominent challenge associated with this approach is obtaining force-field parameters that accurately describe noncovalent interactions. High-level correlated wave function methods, such as CCSD(T), are capable of correctly predicting noncovalent interactions, and are widely used to produce reference data. However, high-level correlated methods are generally too computationally costly to generate the critical reference data required for good force-field parameter development. In this work we present an approach to generate Lennard-Jones force-field parameters to accurately account for noncovalent interactions. We propose the use of a computational step that is intermediate to CCSD(T) and classical molecular mechanics, that can bridge the accuracy and computational efficiency gap between them, and demonstrate the efficacy of our approach with methane clusters. On the basis of CCSD(T)-level binding energy data for a small set of methane clusters, we develop methane-specific, atom-centered, dispersion-correcting potentials (DCPs) for use with the PBE0 density-functional and 6-31+G(d,p) basis sets. We then use the PBE0-DCP approach to compute a detailed map of the interaction forces associated with the removal of a single methane molecule from a cluster of eight methane molecules and use this map to optimize the Lennard-Jones parameters for methane. The quality of the binding energies obtained by the Lennard-Jones parameters we obtained is assessed on a set of methane clusters containing from 2 to 40 molecules. Our Lennard-Jones parameters, used in combination with the intramolecular parameters of the CHARMM force field, are found to closely reproduce the results of our dispersion-corrected density-functional calculations. The approach outlined can be used to develop Lennard-Jones parameters for any kind of molecular system.