Multiconfiguration Pair-Density Functional Theory Spectral Calculations Are Stable to Adding Diffuse Basis Functions

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Time-dependent Kohn-Sham density functional theory (TD-KS-DFT) is useful for calculating electronic excitation spectra of large systems, but the low-energy spectra are often complicated by artificially lowered higher-energy states. This affects even the lowest energy excited states. Here, by calculating the lowest energy spin-conserving excited state for atoms from H to K and for formaldehyde, we show that this problem does not occur in multiconfiguration pair-density functional theory (MC-PDFT). We use the tPBE on-top density functional, which is a translation of the PBE exchange-correlation functional. We compare to a robust multireference method, namely, complete active space second-order perturbation theory (CASPT2), and to TD-KS-DFT with two popular exchange-correlation functionals, PBE and PBE0. We find for atoms that the mean unsigned error (MUE) of MC-PDFT with the tPBE functional improves from 0.42 to 0.40 eV with a double set of diffuse functions, whereas the MUEs for PBE and PBE0 drastically increase from 0.74 to 2.49 eV and from 0.45 to 1.47 eV, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4184-4188
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.


  • basis set completeness
  • electronic spectroscopy
  • excited states
  • multiconfiguration pair-density functional theory
  • time-dependent density functional theory


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