Perspectives on basis sets beautiful: Seasonal plantings of diffuse basis functions

Ewa Papajak, Jingjing Zheng, Xuefei Xu, Hannah R. Leverentz, Donald G. Truhlar

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We present a perspective on the use of diffuse basis functions for electronic structure calculations by density functional theory and wave function theory. We especially emphasize minimally augmented basis sets and calendar basis sets. We base our conclusions on our previous experience with commonly computed quantities, such as bond energies, barrier heights, electron affinities, noncovalent (van der Waals and hydrogen bond) interaction energies, and ionization potentials, on Stephens et al.s results for optical rotation and on our own new calculations (presented here) of polarizabilities and of potential energy curves of van der Waals complexes. We emphasize the benefits of partial augmentation of the higher-zeta basis sets in preference to full augmentation at a lower δ level. Benefits and limitations of the use of fully, partially, and minimally augmented basis sets are reviewed for different electronic structure methods and molecular properties. We have found that minimal augmentation is almost always enough for density functional theory (DFT) when applied to ionization potentials, electron affinities, atomization energies, barrier heights, and hydrogen-bond energies. For electric dipole polarizabilities, we find that augmentation beyond minimal has an average effect of 8% at the polarized triple-δ level and 5% at the polarized quadruple-δ level. The effects are larger for potential energy curves of van der Waals complexes. The effects are also larger for wave function theory (WFT). Even for WFT though, full augmentation is not needed for most purposes, and a level of augmentation between minimal and full is optimal for most problems. The calendar basis sets named after the months provide a convergent sequence of partially augmented basis sets that can be used for such calculations. The jun-cc-pV(T+d)Z basis set is very useful for MP2-F12 calculations of barrier heights and hydrogen bond strengths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3027-3034
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 11 2011


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