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  1. Second-order Møller–Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) provides a valuable alternative to density functional theory for modeling problems in organic and biological chemistry. However, MP2 suffers from known limitations in the description of van der Waals (London) dispersion interactions and reaction thermochemistry. Here, a spin-component-scaled, dispersion-corrected MP2 model (SCS-MP2D) is proposed that addresses these weaknesses. The dispersion correction, which is based on Grimme's D3 formalism, replaces the uncoupled Hartree–Fock dispersion inherent in MP2 with a more robust coupled Kohn–Sham treatment. The spin-component scaling of the residual MP2 correlation energy then reduces the remaining errors in the model. This two-part correction strategy solves the problem found in earlier spin-component-scaled MP2 models where completely different spin-scaling parameters were needed for describing reaction energies versus intermolecular interactions. Results on 18 benchmark data sets and two challenging potential energy curves demonstrate that SCS-MP2D considerably improves upon the accuracy of MP2 for intermolecular interactions, conformational energies, and reaction energies. Its accuracy and computational cost are competitive with state-of-the-art density functionals such as DSD-BLYP-D3(BJ), revDSD-PBEP86-D3(BJ), ωB97X-V, and ωB97M-V for systems with ∼100 atoms.
  2. With 12 crystal forms, 5-methyl-2-[(2-nitrophenyl)amino]-3-thiophenecabonitrile (a.k.a. ROY) holds the current record for the largest number of fully characterized organic crystal polymorphs. Four of these polymorph structures have been reported since 2019, raising the question of how many more ROY polymorphs await future discovery. Employing crystal structure prediction and accurate energy rankings derived from conformational energy-corrected density functional theory, this study presents the first crystal energy landscape for ROY that agrees well with experiment. The lattice energies suggest that the seven most stable ROY polymorphs (and nine of the twelve lowest-energy forms) on the Z′ = 1 landscape have already been discovered experimentally. Discovering any new polymorphs at ambient pressure will likely require specialized crystallization techniques capable of trapping metastable forms. At pressures above 10 GPa, however, a new crystal form is predicted to become enthalpically more stable than all known polymorphs, suggesting that further high-pressure experiments on ROY may be warranted. This work highlights the value of high-accuracy crystal structure prediction for solid-form screening and demonstrates how pragmatic conformational energy corrections can overcome the limitations of conventional density functionals for conformational polymorphs.
  3. The exceptionally high carrier mobility of rubrene derives from the combination of its intrinsic electronic properties and favorable crystal packing that facilitates charge transport. Unlike the planar conformations adopted by rubrene single crystals, however, many rubrene derivatives crystallize with a twisted tetracene core and exhibit poor carrier mobility. Typical density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest that the twisted conformation is preferred by ∼10–14 kJ mol −1 or more in the gas phase. However, the present work shows that those calculations overestimate the twisting energy by several kJ mol −1 due to density-driven delocalization error, and that the twisting energies are actually only ∼8–10 kJ mol −1 for typical rubrene derivatives when computed with higher-level correlated wave function models. This result has two significant implications for crystal engineering with rubrene derivatives: first, DFT calculations can erroneously predict polymorphs containing twisted rubrene conformations to be more stable, when in fact structures with planar conformations are preferred, as is demonstrated here for perfluororubrene. Second, the smaller twisting energies make it more likely that solid form screening could discover new planar-core polymorphs of rubrene derivatives that have previously been crystallized only in a twisted conformation. These in turn might exhibit better organic semiconducting properties.
  4. Conformational polymorphs of organic molecular crystals represent a challenging test for quantum chemistry because they require careful balancing of the intra- and intermolecular interactions. This study examines 54 molecular conformations from 20 sets of conformational polymorphs, along with the relative lattice energies and 173 dimer interactions taken from six of the polymorph sets. These systems are studied with a variety of van der Waals-inclusive density functionals theory models; dispersion-corrected spin-component-scaled second-order Møller–Plesset perturbation theory (SCS-MP2D); and domain local pair natural orbital coupled cluster singles, doubles, and perturbative triples [DLPNO-CCSD(T)]. We investigate how delocalization error in conventional density functionals impacts monomer conformational energies, systematic errors in the intermolecular interactions, and the nature of error cancellation that occurs in the overall crystal. The density functionals B86bPBE-XDM, PBE-D4, PBE-MBD, PBE0-D4, and PBE0-MBD are found to exhibit sizable one-body and two-body errors vs DLPNO-CCSD(T) benchmarks, and the level of success in predicting the relative polymorph energies relies heavily on error cancellation between different types of intermolecular interactions or between intra- and intermolecular interactions. The SCS-MP2D and, to a lesser extent, ωB97M-V models exhibit smaller errors and rely less on error cancellation. Implications for crystal structure prediction of flexible compounds are discussed. Finally, the one-bodymore »and two-body DLPNO-CCSD(T) energies taken from these conformational polymorphs establish the CP1b and CP2b benchmark datasets that could be useful for testing quantum chemistry models in challenging real-world systems with complex interplay between intra- and intermolecular interactions, a number of which are significantly impacted by delocalization error.

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  5. null (Ed.)
    9-Anthracene carboxylic acid derivatives comprise a family of thermally reversible photomechanical molecular crystals. The photomechanical response relies on a [4 + 4] photodimerization followed by dissociation that occurs on timescales of seconds to minutes. A combined theoretical and experimental investigation is undertaken to better understand how chemical modification of the anthracene core influences energetics of both the isolated molecule and the crystal lattice. We use both density functional theory and dispersion-corrected Moller–Plesset perturbation theory computational methods to establish orbital energies, photodimerization reaction energies, and lattice energies for a set of substituted 9-anthracene carboxylic acid molecules. The calculations reveal that steric interactions play a dominant role in the ability to form photodimers and indicate an energetic threshold of 80–90 kJ per mole for the dimerization reaction. Examination of intermolecular bonding in a subset of fluorinated 9ACs revealed the absence of H⋯F intermolecular bond formation and energy differences that can explain observed trends in the dissociation kinetics and mechanical reset times. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments shows that the photodimer dissociation kinetics depend on the amount of initial photodimer, preventing a straightforward correlation between halogen atom substitution and dissociation rates using the Bell–Evans–Polanyi principle. The results clarify how molecular structure affects intermolecularmore »interactions and photoreactivity in this family of molecular crystals, but the origin of the complex photodimer dissociation dynamics remains an open question.« less
  6. Density functional theory (DFT) prediction of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) chemical shifts complements NMR experiments. Predicting chemical shifts accurately with DFT requires many different modeling decisions. Intended for novice modelers and nonexperts, this article discusses the considerations one should take in selecting a density functional, van der Waals dispersion correction, and basis set. It examines different strategies for handling systems in complex environments such as liquids, biomolecules, and crystals. Strategies include the use of cluster models, electrostatic embedding, continuum representations, periodic boundary conditions, and fragment‐based approaches. Finally, approaches for referencing the predicted absolute chemical shieldings for comparison against experimental chemical shifts are discussed.