American Chemical Society
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Benchmark Studies on the Building Blocks of DNA. 1. Superiority of Coupled Cluster Methods in Describing the Excited States of Nucleobases in the Franck–Condon Region

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-06-28, 00:00 authored by Péter G. Szalay, Thomas Watson, Ajith Perera, Victor F. Lotrich, Rodney J. Bartlett
Equation of motion excitation energy coupled-cluster (EOMEE-CC) methods including perturbative triple excitations have been used to set benchmark results for the excitation energy and oscillator strength of the building units of DNA, i.e., cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine. In all cases the lowest twelve transitions have been considered including valence and Rydberg ones. Triple-ζ basis sets with diffuse functions have been used and the results are compared to CC2, CASPT2, TDDFT, and DFT/MRCI results from the literature. The results clearly show that it is only the EOMEE-CCSD­(T) that is capable of providing accuracy of about 0.1 eV. EOMEE-CCSD systematically overshoots the energy of all types of transitions by 0.1–0.3 eV, whereas CC2 is surprisingly accurate for ππ* transitions but fails (often badly) for nπ* and Rydberg transitions. DFT and CASPT2 seem to give reliable results for the lowest transition, but the error increases fast with the excitation level. The differences in the excitation energies often change the energy ordering of the states, which should even influence the conclusions of excited state dynamics obtained with these approximate methods. The results call for further benchmark calculations on larger building blocks of DNA (nucleosides, basis pairs) at the CCSD­(T) level.