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Small-Basis Set Density-Functional Theory Methods Corrected with Atom-Centered Potentials

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journal contribution
posted on 12.04.2022, 18:10 authored by Viki Kumar Prasad, Alberto Otero-de-la-Roza, Gino A. DiLabio
Density functional theory (DFT) is currently the most popular method for modeling noncovalent interactions and thermochemistry. The accurate calculation of noncovalent interaction energies, reaction energies, and barrier heights requires choosing an appropriate functional and, typically, a relatively large basis set. Deficiencies of the density-functional approximation and the use of a limited basis set are the leading sources of error in the calculation of noncovalent and thermochemical properties in molecular systems. In this article, we present three new DFT methods based on the BLYP, M06-2X, and CAM-B3LYP functionals in combination with the 6-31G* basis set and corrected with atom-centered potentials (ACPs). ACPs are one-electron potentials that have the same form as effective-core potentials, except they do not replace any electrons. The ACPs developed in this work are used to generate energy corrections to the underlying DFT/basis-set method such that the errors in predicted chemical properties are minimized while maintaining the low computational cost of the parent methods. ACPs were developed for the elements H, B, C, N, O, F, Si, P, S, and Cl. The ACP parameters were determined using an extensive training set of 118655 data points, mostly of complete basis set coupled-cluster level quality. The target molecular properties for the ACP-corrected methods include noncovalent interaction energies, molecular conformational energies, reaction energies, barrier heights, and bond separation energies. The ACPs were tested first on the training set and then on a validation set of 42567 additional data points. We show that the ACP-corrected methods can predict the target molecular properties with accuracy close to complete basis set wavefunction theory methods, but at a computational cost of double-ζ DFT methods. This makes the new BLYP/6-31G*-ACP, M06-2X/6-31G*-ACP, and CAM-B3LYP/6-31G*-ACP methods uniquely suited to the calculation of noncovalent, thermochemical, and kinetic properties in large molecular systems.