Diabatic molecular orbitals, potential energies, and potential energy surface couplings by the 4-fold way for photodissociation of phenol

Xuefei Xu, Ke R. Yang, Donald G. Truhlar

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57 Scopus citations


Complete-active-space self-consistent-field (CASSCF) calculations provide useful reference wave functions for configuration interaction or perturbation theory calculations of excited-state potential energy surfaces including dynamical electron correlation. However, the canonical molecular orbitals (MOs) of CASSCF calculations usually have mixed character in regions of strong interaction of two or more electronic states; therefore, they are unsuitable for diabatization using the configurational uniformity approach. Here, CASSCF diabatic MOs for phenol have been obtained by the 4-fold way, and comparison to the CASSCF canonical MOs shows that they are much smoother. Using these smooth CASSCF diabatic MOs, we performed direct diabatization calculations for the three low-lying states (1ππ, 1ππ*, and 1πσ*) and their diabatic (scalar) couplings at the dynamically correlated multiconfiguration quasidegenerate perturbation theory (MC-QDPT) level. We present calculations along the O-H stretching and C-C-O-H torsion coordinates for the nonadiabatic photodissociation of phenol to the phenoxyl radical and hydrogen atom. The seams of 1ππ*/ 1πσ* and 1ππ/ 1πσ* diabatic crossings are plotted as functions of these coordinates. We also present diabatization calculations for displacements along the out-of-plane ring distortion modes 16a and 16b of the phenyl group. The dominant coupling modes of the two conical intersections ( 1ππ*/1πσ* and 1ππ/1πσ*) are discussed. The present diabatization method is confirmed to be valid even for significantly distorted ring structures by diabatization calculations along a reaction path connecting the planar equilibrium geometry of phenol to its strongly distorted prefulvenic form. The present work provides insight into the mode specificity of phenol photodissociation and shows that diabatization at the MC-QDPT level employing CASSCF diabatic MOs can be a good starting point for multidimensional dynamics calculations of photochemical reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3612-3625
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 13 2013


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