Approximations to complete basis set-extrapolated, highly correlated non-covalent interaction energies

Iain D Mackie, Gino A DiLabio
Journal of Chemical Physics 2011 October 7, 135 (13): 134318
The first-principles calculation of non-covalent (particularly dispersion) interactions between molecules is a considerable challenge. In this work we studied the binding energies for ten small non-covalently bonded dimers with several combinations of correlation methods (MP2, coupled-cluster single double, coupled-cluster single double (triple) (CCSD(T))), correlation-consistent basis sets (aug-cc-pVXZ, X = D, T, Q), two-point complete basis set energy extrapolations, and counterpoise corrections. For this work, complete basis set results were estimated from averaged counterpoise and non-counterpoise-corrected CCSD(T) binding energies obtained from extrapolations with aug-cc-pVQZ and aug-cc-pVTZ basis sets. It is demonstrated that, in almost all cases, binding energies converge more rapidly to the basis set limit by averaging the counterpoise and non-counterpoise corrected values than by using either counterpoise or non-counterpoise methods alone. Examination of the effect of basis set size and electron correlation shows that the triples contribution to the CCSD(T) binding energies is fairly constant with the basis set size, with a slight underestimation with CCSD(T)∕aug-cc-pVDZ compared to the value at the (estimated) complete basis set limit, and that contributions to the binding energies obtained by MP2 generally overestimate the analogous CCSD(T) contributions. Taking these factors together, we conclude that the binding energies for non-covalently bonded systems can be accurately determined using a composite method that combines CCSD(T)∕aug-cc-pVDZ with energy corrections obtained using basis set extrapolated MP2 (utilizing aug-cc-pVQZ and aug-cc-pVTZ basis sets), if all of the components are obtained by averaging the counterpoise and non-counterpoise energies. With such an approach, binding energies for the set of ten dimers are predicted with a mean absolute deviation of 0.02 kcal/mol, a maximum absolute deviation of 0.05 kcal/mol, and a mean percent absolute deviation of only 1.7%, relative to the (estimated) complete basis set CCSD(T) results. Use of this composite approach to an additional set of eight dimers gave binding energies to within 1% of previously published high-level data. It is also shown that binding within parallel and parallel-crossed conformations of naphthalene dimer is predicted by the composite approach to be 9% greater than that previously reported in the literature. The ability of some recently developed dispersion-corrected density-functional theory methods to predict the binding energies of the set of ten small dimers was also examined.

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