Issue 25, 2022

Electron correlation and vibrational effects in predictions of paramagnetic NMR shifts


Electronic structure calculations are fundamentally important for the interpretation of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra from paramagnetic systems that include organometallic and inorganic compounds, catalysts, or metal-binding sites in proteins. Prediction of induced paramagnetic NMR shifts requires knowledge of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) parameters: the electronic g tensor, zero-field splitting D tensor, and hyperfine A tensor. The isotropic part of A, called the hyperfine coupling constant (HFCC), is one of the most troublesome properties for quantum chemistry calculations. Yet, even relatively small errors in calculations of HFCC tend to propagate into large errors in the predicted NMR shifts. The poor quality of A tensors that are currently calculated using density functional theory (DFT) constitutes a bottleneck in improving the reliability of interpretation of the NMR spectra from paramagnetic systems. In this work, electron correlation effects in calculations of HFCCs with a hierarchy of ab initio methods were assessed, and the applicability of different levels of DFT approximations and the coupled cluster singles and doubles (CCSD) method was tested. These assessments were performed for the set of selected test systems comprising an organic radical, and complexes with transition metal and rare-earth ions, for which experimental data are available. Severe deficiencies of DFT were revealed but the CCSD method was able to deliver good agreement with experimental data for all systems considered, however, at substantial computational costs. We proposed a more computationally tractable alternative, where the A was computed with the coupled cluster theory exploiting locality of electron correlation. This alternative is based on the domain-based local pair natural orbital coupled cluster singles and doubles (DLPNO-CCSD) method. In this way the robustness and reliability of the coupled cluster theory were incorporated into the modern formalism for the prediction of induced paramagnetic NMR shifts, and became applicable to systems of chemical interest. This approach was verified for the bis(cyclopentadienyl)vanadium(II) complex (Cp2V; vanadocene), and the metal-binding site of the Zn2+ → Co2+ substituted superoxide dismutase (SOD) metalloprotein. Excellent agreement with experimental NMR shifts was achieved, which represented a substantial improvement over previous theoretical attempts. The effects of vibrational corrections to orbital shielding and hyperfine tensor were evaluated and discussed within the second-order vibrational perturbation theory (VPT2) framework.

Graphical abstract: Electron correlation and vibrational effects in predictions of paramagnetic NMR shifts

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Article information

Article type
12 Mar 2022
26 May 2022
First published
27 May 2022
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2022,24, 15230-15244

Electron correlation and vibrational effects in predictions of paramagnetic NMR shifts

A. Jaworski and N. Hedin, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2022, 24, 15230 DOI: 10.1039/D2CP01206E

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