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Nonlocal van der Waals Approach Merged with Double-Hybrid Density Functionals: Toward the Accurate Treatment of Noncovalent Interactions

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 01:19 by Juan Aragó, Enrique Ortí, Juan C. Sancho-García
Noncovalent interactions drive the self-assembly of weakly interacting molecular systems to form supramolecular aggregates, which play a major role in nanotechnology and biochemistry. In this work, we present a thorough assessment of the performance of different double-hybrid density functionals (PBE0-DH-NL, revPBE0-DH-NL, B2PLYP-NL, and TPSS0-DH-NL), as well as their parent hybrid and (meta)­GGA functionals, in combination with the most modern version of the nonlocal (NL) van der Waals correction. It is shown that this nonlocal correction can be successfully coupled with double-hybrid density functionals thanks to the short-range attenuation parameter b, which has been optimized against reference interaction energies of benchmarking molecular complexes (S22 and S66 databases). Among all the double-hybrid functionals evaluated, revPBE0-DH-NL and B2PLYP-NL behave remarkably accurate with mean unsigned errors (MUE) as small as 0.20 kcal/mol for the training sets and in the 0.25–0.42 kcal/mol range for an independent database (NCCE31). They can be thus seen as appropriate functionals to use in a broad number of applications where noncovalent interactions play an important role. Overall, the nonlocal van der Waals approach combined with last-generation density functionals is confirmed as an accurate and affordable computational tool for the modeling of weakly bonded molecular systems.