Density functional theory of open-shell systems. The 3d-series transition-metal atoms and their cations

Sijie Luo, Boris Averkiev, Ke R. Yang, Xuefei Xu, Donald G Truhlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The 3d-series transition metals (also called the fourth-period transition metals), Sc to Zn, are very important in industry and biology, but they provide unique challenges to computing the electronic structure of their compounds. In order to successfully describe the compounds by theory, one must be able to describe their components, in particular the constituent atoms and cations. In order to understand the ingredients required for successful computations with density functional theory, it is useful to examine the performance of various exchange-correlation functionals; we do this here for 4sN3d N′ transition-metal atoms and their cations. We analyze the results using three ways to compute the energy of the open-shell states: the direct variational method, the weighted-averaged broken symmetry (WABS) method, and a new broken-symmetry method called the reinterpreted broken symmetry (RBS) method. We find the RBS method to be comparable in accuracy with the WABS method. By examining the overall accuracy in treating 18 multiplicity-changing excitations and 10 ionization potentials with the RBS method, 10 functionals are found to have a mean-unsigned error of <5 kcal/mol, with ωB97X-D topping the list. For local density functionals, which are more practical for extended systems, the M06-L functional is the most accurate. And by combining the results with our previous studies of p-block and 4d-series elements as well as databases for alkyl bond dissociation, main-group atomization energies, and π-π noncovalent interactions, we find five functionals, namely, PW6B95, MPW1B95, M08-SO, SOGGA11-X, and MPWB1K, to be highly recommended. We also studied the performance of PW86 and C09 exchange functionals, which have drawn wide interest in recent studies due to their claimed ability to reproduce Hartree-Fock exchange at long distance. By combining them with four correlation functionals, we find the performance of the resulting functionals disappointing both for 3d transition-metal chemistry and in broader tests, and thus we do not recommend PW86 and C09 as components of generalized gradient approximations for general application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-121
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Density functional theory of open-shell systems. The 3d-series transition-metal atoms and their cations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this