Multiconfiguration pair-density functional theory: Barrier heights and main group and transition metal energetics

Rebecca K. Carlson, Giovanni Li Manni, Andrew L. Sonnenberger, Donald G. Truhlar, Laura Gagliardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Kohn-Sham density functional theory, resting on the representation of the electronic density and kinetic energy by a single Slater determinant, has revolutionized chemistry, but for open-shell systems, the Kohn-Sham Slater determinant has the wrong symmetry properties as compared to an accurate wave function. We have recently proposed a theory, called multiconfiguration pair-density functional theory (MC-PDFT), in which the electronic kinetic energy and classical Coulomb energy are calculated from a multiconfiguration wave function with the correct symmetry properties, and the rest of the energy is calculated from a density functional, called the on-top density functional, that depends on the density and the on-top pair density calculated from this wave function. We also proposed a simple way to approximate the on-top density functional by translation of Kohn-Sham exchange-correlation functionals. The method is much less expensive than other post-SCF methods for calculating the dynamical correlation energy starting with a multiconfiguration self-consistent-field wave function as the reference wave function, and initial tests of the theory were quite encouraging. Here, we provide a broader test of the theory by applying it to bond energies of main-group molecules and transition metal complexes, barrier heights and reaction energies for diverse chemical reactions, proton affinities, and the water dimerization energy. Averaged over 56 data points, the mean unsigned error is 3.2 kcal/mol for MC-PDFT, as compared to 6.9 kcal/mol for Kohn-Sham theory with a comparable density functional. MC-PDFT is more accurate on average than complete active space second-order perturbation theory (CASPT2) for main-group small-molecule bond energies, alkyl bond dissociation energies, transition-metal-ligand bond energies, proton affinities, and the water dimerization energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2015


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