Calculation of linear and nonlinear optical properties of azobenzene derivatives with Kohn–Sham and coupled-cluster methods
Linear polarizabilities (α) and second hyperpolarizabilities (γ) of unsubstituted azobenzenes and ‘push–pull’ azobenzene derivatives are investigated using Kohn–Sham theory (KST) and coupled-cluster (CC) approaches. Various standard exchange–correlation functionals as well as a non-empirically ‘tuned’ long-range corrected (LC) functional with range-separated exchange are used in the KST calculations. When compared to correlated ab initio calculations and measurements, the tuned functional gives accurate low-energy excitation energies, especially for charge transfer (CT) transitions, and performs well for α. Basis set and solvent effects are also studied. In contrast to expectations, but in agreement with a prior study of π-conjugated systems that do not have low-energy CT excitations, the improvements of the CT excitation energies for the push–pull π-chromophores due to tuning do not go along with clear improvements of γ toward the CC reference data, likely due to the importance of the dynamic electron correlation for this property.