A look at the density functional theory zoo with the advanced GMTKN55 database for general main group thermochemistry, kinetics and noncovalent interactions
We present the GMTKN55 benchmark database for general main group thermochemistry, kinetics and noncovalent interactions. Compared to its popular predecessor GMTKN30 [Goerigk and Grimme J. Chem. Theory Comput., 2011, 7, 291], it allows assessment across a larger variety of chemical problems—with 13 new benchmark sets being presented for the first time—and it also provides reference values of significantly higher quality for most sets. GMTKN55 comprises 1505 relative energies based on 2462 single-point calculations and it is accessible to the user community via a dedicated website. Herein, we demonstrate the importance of better reference values, and we re-emphasise the need for London-dispersion corrections in density functional theory (DFT) treatments of thermochemical problems, including Minnesota methods. We assessed 217 variations of dispersion-corrected and -uncorrected density functional approximations, and carried out a detailed analysis of 83 of them to identify robust and reliable approaches. Double-hybrid functionals are the most reliable approaches for thermochemistry and noncovalent interactions, and they should be used whenever technically feasible. These are, in particular, DSD-BLYP-D3(BJ), DSD-PBEP86-D3(BJ), and B2GPPLYP-D3(BJ). The best hybrids are ωB97X-V, M052X-D3(0), and ωB97X-D3, but we also recommend PW6B95-D3(BJ) as the best conventional global hybrid. At the meta-generalised-gradient (meta-GGA) level, the SCAN-D3(BJ) method can be recommended. Other meta-GGAs are outperformed by the GGA functionals revPBE-D3(BJ), B97-D3(BJ), and OLYP-D3(BJ). We note that many popular methods, such as B3LYP, are not part of our recommendations. In fact, with our results we hope to inspire a change in the user community's perception of common DFT methods. We also encourage method developers to use GMTKN55 for cross-validation studies of new methodologies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 PCCP HOT Articles