Efficient and automated computation of accurate molecular geometries using focal-point approximations to large-basis coupled-cluster theory

Warden C. E., Smith D. G. A., Burns L. A., BOZKAYA U., Sherrill C. D.

JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, vol.152, no.12, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 152 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1063/5.0004863
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Chimica, Compendex, EMBASE, INSPEC, MEDLINE, zbMATH, DIALNET
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The focal-point approach, combining several quantum chemistry computations to estimate a more accurate computation at a lower expense, is effective and commonly used for energies. However, it has not yet been widely adopted for properties such as geometries. Here, we examine several focal-point methods combining MOller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2 and MP2.5) with coupled-cluster theory through perturbative triples [CCSD(T)] for their effectiveness in geometry optimizations using a new driver for the Psi4 electronic structure program that efficiently automates the computation of composite-energy gradients. The test set consists of 94 closed-shell molecules containing first- and/or second-row elements. The focal-point methods utilized combinations of correlation-consistent basis sets cc-pV(X+d)Z and heavy-aug-cc-pV(X+d)Z (X = D, T, Q, 5, 6). Focal-point geometries were compared to those from conventional CCSD(T) using basis sets up to heavy-aug-cc-pV5Z and to geometries from explicitly correlated CCSD(T)-F12 using the cc-pVXZ-F12 (X = D, T) basis sets. All results were compared to reference geometries reported by Karton et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 145, 104101 (2016)] at the CCSD(T)/heavy-aug-cc-pV6Z level of theory. In general, focal-point methods based on an estimate of the MP2 complete-basis-set limit, with a coupled-cluster correction evaluated in a (heavy-aug-)cc-pVXZ basis, are of superior quality to conventional CCSD(T)/(heavy-aug-)cc-pV(X+1)Z and sometimes approach the errors of CCSD(T)/(heavy-aug-)cc-pV(X+2)Z. However, the focal-point methods are much faster computationally. For the benzene molecule, the gradient of such a focal-point approach requires only 4.5% of the computation time of a conventional CCSD(T)/cc-pVTZ gradient and only 0.4% of the time of a CCSD(T)/cc-pVQZ gradient.