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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 23, 2024
  2. This work is devoted to deriving and implementing analytic second- and third-order energy derivatives with respect to the nuclear coordinates and external electric field within the framework of the hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics method with induced charges and dipoles (QM/DIM). Using these analytic energy derivatives, one can efficiently compute the harmonic vibrational frequencies, infrared (IR) and Raman scattering (RS) spectra of the molecule in the proximity of noble metal clusters/nanoparticles. The validity and accuracy of these analytic implementations are demonstrated by the comparison of results obtained by the finite-difference method and the analytic approaches and by the full QM and QM/DIM calculations. The complexes formed by pyridine and two sizes of gold clusters (Au18 and Au32) at varying intersystem distances of 3, 4, and 5 Å are used as the test systems, and Raman spectra of 4,4′-bipyridine in the proximity of Au2057 and Ag2057 metal nanoparticles (MNP) are calculated by the QM/DIM method and compared with experimental results as well. We find that the QM/DIM model can well reproduce the IR spectra obtained from full QM calculations for all the configurations, while although it properly enhances some of the vibrational modes, it artificially overestimates RS spectral intensities of several modes for the systems with very short intersystem distance. We show that this could be improved, however, by incorporating the hyperpolarizability of the gold metal cluster in the evaluation of RS intensities. Additionally, we address the potential impact of charge migration between the adsorbate and MNPs. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 28, 2023
  3. Time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) based approaches have been developed in recent years to model the excited-state properties and transition processes of the molecules in the gas-phase and in a condensed medium, such as in a solution and protein microenvironment or near semiconductor and metal surfaces. In the latter case, usually, classical embedding models have been adopted to account for the molecular environmental effects, leading to the multi-scale approaches of TDDFT/polarizable continuum model (PCM) and TDDFT/molecular mechanics (MM), where a molecular system of interest is designated as the quantum mechanical region and treated with TDDFT, while the environment is usually described using either a PCM or (non-polarizable or polarizable) MM force fields. In this Perspective, we briefly review these TDDFT-related multi-scale models with a specific emphasis on the implementation of analytical energy derivatives, such as the energy gradient and Hessian, the nonadiabatic coupling, the spin–orbit coupling, and the transition dipole moment as well as their nuclear derivatives for various radiative and radiativeless transition processes among electronic states. Three variations of the TDDFT method, the Tamm–Dancoff approximation to TDDFT, spin–flip DFT, and spin-adiabatic TDDFT, are discussed. Moreover, using a model system (pyridine–Ag 20 complex), we emphasize that caution is needed to properly account for system–environment interactions within the TDDFT/MM models. Specifically, one should appropriately damp the electrostatic embedding potential from MM atoms and carefully tune the van der Waals interaction potential between the system and the environment. We also highlight the lack of proper treatment of charge transfer between the quantum mechanics and MM regions as well as the need for accelerated TDDFT modelings and interpretability, which calls for new method developments. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Energy decomposition analysis (EDA) based on absolutely localized molecular orbitals (ALMOs) decomposes the interaction energy between molecules into physically interpretable components like geometry distortion, frozen interactions, polarization, and charge transfer (CT, also sometimes called charge delocalization) interactions. In this work, a numerically exact scheme to decompose the CT interaction energy into pairwise additive terms is introduced for the ALMO-EDA using density functional theory. Unlike perturbative pairwise charge-decomposition analysis, the new approach does not break down for strongly interacting systems, or show significant exchange–correlation functional dependence in the decomposed energy components. Both the energy lowering and the charge flow associated with CT can be decomposed. Complementary occupied–virtual orbital pairs (COVPs) that capture the dominant donor and acceptor CT orbitals are obtained for the new decomposition. It is applied to systems with different types of interactions including DNA base-pairs, borane-ammonia adducts, and transition metal hexacarbonyls. While consistent with most existing understanding of the nature of CT in these systems, the results also reveal some new insights into the origin of trends in donor–acceptor interactions. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Quantum chemistry in the form of density functional theory (DFT) calculations is a powerful numerical experiment for predicting intermolecular interaction energies. However, no chemical insight is gained in this way beyond predictions of observables. Energy decomposition analysis (EDA) can quantitatively bridge this gap by providing values for the chemical drivers of the interactions, such as permanent electrostatics, Pauli repulsion, dispersion, and charge transfer. These energetic contributions are identified by performing DFT calculations with constraints that disable components of the interaction. This review describes the second-generation version of the absolutely localized molecular orbital EDA (ALMO-EDA-II). The effects of different physical contributions on changes in observables such as structure and vibrational frequencies upon complex formation are characterized via the adiabatic EDA. Example applications include red- versus blue-shifting hydrogen bonds; the bonding and frequency shifts of CO, N 2 , and BF bound to a [Ru(II)(NH 3 ) 5 ] 2 + moiety; and the nature of the strongly bound complexes between pyridine and the benzene and naphthalene radical cations. Additionally, the use of ALMO-EDA-II to benchmark and guide the development of advanced force fields for molecular simulation is illustrated with the recent, very promising, MB-UCB potential. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    To facilitate computational investigation of intermolecular interactions in the solution phase, we report the development of ALMO-EDA(solv), a scheme that allows the application of continuum solvent models within the framework of energy decomposition analysis (EDA) based on absolutely localized molecular orbitals (ALMOs). In this scheme, all the quantum mechanical states involved in the variational EDA procedure are computed with the presence of solvent environment so that solvation effects are incorporated in the evaluation of all its energy components. After validation on several model complexes, we employ ALMO-EDA(solv) to investigate substituent effects on two classes of complexes that are related to molecular CO 2 reduction catalysis. For [FeTPP(CO 2 -κC)] 2− (TPP = tetraphenylporphyrin), we reveal that two ortho substituents which yield most favorable CO 2 binding, –N(CH 3 ) 3 + (TMA) and –OH, stabilize the complex via through-structure and through-space mechanisms, respectively. The coulombic interaction between the positively charged TMA group and activated CO 2 is found to be largely attenuated by the polar solvent. Furthermore, we also provide computational support for the design strategy of utilizing bulky, flexible ligands to stabilize activated CO 2 via long-range Coulomb interactions, which creates biomimetic solvent-inaccessible “pockets” in that electrostatics is unscreened. For the reactant and product complexes associated with the electron transfer from the p -terphenyl radical anion to CO 2 , we demonstrate that the double terminal substitution of p -terphenyl by electron-withdrawing groups considerably strengthens the binding in the product state while moderately weakens that in the reactant state, which are both dominated by the substituent tuning of the electrostatics component. These applications illustrate that this new extension of ALMO-EDA provides a valuable means to unravel the nature of intermolecular interactions and quantify their impacts on chemical reactivity in solution. 
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  7. Intermolecular interactions between radicals and closed-shell molecules are ubiquitous in chemical processes, ranging from the benchtop to the atmosphere and extraterrestrial space. While energy decomposition analysis (EDA) schemes for closed-shell molecules can be generalized for studying radical–molecule interactions, they face challenges arising from the unique characteristics of the electronic structure of open-shell species. In this work, we introduce additional steps that are necessary for the proper treatment of radical–molecule interactions to our previously developed unrestricted Absolutely Localized Molecular Orbital (uALMO)-EDA based on density functional theory calculations. A “polarize-then-depolarize” (PtD) scheme is used to remove arbitrariness in the definition of the frozen wavefunction, rendering the ALMO-EDA results independent of the orientation of the unpaired electron obtained from isolated fragment calculations. The contribution of radical rehybridization to polarization energies is evaluated. It is also valuable to monitor the wavefunction stability of each intermediate state, as well as their associated spin density profiles, to ensure the EDA results correspond to a desired electronic state. These radical extensions are incorporated into the “vertical” and “adiabatic” variants of uALMO-EDA for studies of energy changes and property shifts upon complexation. The EDA is validated on two model complexes, H 2 O⋯˙F and FH⋯˙OH. It is then applied to several chemically interesting radical–molecule complexes, including the sandwiched and T-shaped benzene dimer radical cation, complexes of pyridine with benzene and naphthalene radical cations, binary and ternary complexes of the hydroxyl radical with water (˙OH(H 2 O) and ˙OH(H 2 O) 2 ), and the pre-reactive complexes and transition states in the ˙OH + HCHO and ˙OH + CH 3 CHO reactions. These examples suggest that this second generation uALMO-EDA is a useful tool for furthering one's understanding of both energetic and property changes associated with radical–molecule interactions. 
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