Retracted Article: Noncovalently bound excited-state dimers: a perspective on current time-dependent density functional theory approaches applied to aromatic excimer models†
Excimers are supramolecular systems whose binding strength is influenced by many factors that are ongoing challenges for computational methods, such as charge transfer, exciton coupling, and London dispersion interactions. Treating the various intricacies of excimer binding at an adequate level is expected to be particularly challenging for Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT) methods. In addition to well-known limitations for some TD-DFT methods in the description of charge transfer or exciton coupling, the inherent London dispersion problem from ground-state DFT translates to TD-DFT. While techniques to appropriately treat dispersion in DFT are well-developed for electronic ground states, these dispersion corrections remain largely untested for excited states. Herein, we aim to shed light on current TD-DFT methods, including some of the newest developments. The binding of four model excimers is studied across nine density functionals with and without the application of additive dispersion corrections against a wave function reference of SCS-CC2/CBS(3,4) quality, which approximates select CCSDR(3)/CBS data adequately. To our knowledge, this is the first study that presents single-reference wave function dissociation curves at the complete basis set level for the assessed model systems. It is also the first time range-separated double-hybrid density functionals are applied to excimers. In fact, those functionals turn out to be the most promising for the description of excimer binding followed by global double hybrids. Range-separated and global hybrids—particularly with large fractions of Fock exchange—are outperformed by double hybrids and yield worse dissociation energies and inter-molecular equilibrium distances. The deviation between each assessed functional and reference increases with system size, most likely due to missing dispersion interactions. Additive dispersion corrections of the DFT-D3(BJ) and DFT-D4 types reduce the average errors for TD-DFT methods but do so inconsistently and therefore do not offer a black-box solution in their ground-state parametrised form. The lack of appropriate description of dispersion effects for TD-DFT methods is likely hindering the practical application of the herein identified more efficient methods. Dispersion corrections parametrised for excited states appear to be an important next step to improve the applicability of TD-DFT methods and we hope that our work assists with the future development of such corrections.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigators Series