Conical intersection and potential energy surface features of a model retinal chromophore: Comparison of EOM-CC and multireference methods

S. Gozem, A.I. Krylov, and M. Olivucci
J. Chem. Theor. Comp 9, 284 – 292 (2013)

This work investigates the performance of equation-of- motion coupled-cluster (EOM-CC) methods for describing the changes in the potential energy surfaces of the penta-2,4-dieniminium cation, a reduced model of the retinal chromophore of visual pigments, due to dynamical electron correlation effects. The ground- state wave function of this model includes charge-transfer and diradical configurations whose weights vary along different displace- ments and are rapidly changing at the conical intersection between the ground and the first excited states, making the shape of the potential energy surface sensitive to a balanced description of nondynamical and dynamical correlation. Recently, variational (MRCISD) and perturbative (MRPT2) approaches for including dynamical correlation in CASSCF-based calculations were tested along three representative ground state paths. Here, we use the same three paths to compare the performance of single-reference EOM-CC methods against MRCISD and MRCISD+Q. We find that the spin-flip variant of EOM-CCSD with perturbative inclusion of triple excitations (dT or fT) produces potential energy profiles of the two lowest electronic states in quantitative agreement with MRCISD+Q (our highest-quality reference method). The nonparallelity errors and differences in vertical energy differences of the two surfaces along these scans are less than 1.4 kcal/mol (EOM-SF-CCSD(dT) versus MRCISD+Q). For comparison, the largest error of MRCISD versus MRCISD+Q is 1.7 kcal/mol. Our results show that the EOM-CC methods provide an alternative to multireference approaches and may be used to study photochemical systems like the one used in this work.

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