Charge-transfer-to-solvent states provide a sensitive spectroscopic probe of the local solvent structure around anions
This computational study characterizes charge-transfer-to-solvent (CTTS) states of aqueous thiocyanite anion using equation-of-motion coupled-cluster methods combined with electrostatic embedding quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) scheme. Equilibrium sampling was carried out using classical molecular dynamics (MD) with standard force-fields and QM/MM ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) using DFT. The two calculations yield significantly differem local structure around solvated SCN-. Because of the diffuse character of CTTS states, they are very sensitive to the local structure of solvent around the solute and its dynamic fluctuations. Owing to this sensitivity, the spectra computed MD and AIMD based snapshots differ considerably. This sensitivity suggests that the spectroscopy exploiting CTTS transitions can provide an experimental handle for assessing the quality of force-fields and density functionals.