How well can modern density functionals predict internuclear distances at transition states?

Xuefei Xu, I. M. Alecu, Donald G. Truhlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


We introduce a new database called TSG48 containing 48 transition state geometrical data (in particular, internuclear distances in transition state structures) for 16 main group reactions. The 16 reactions are the 12 reactions in the previously published DBH24 database (which includes hydrogen transfer reactions, heavy-atom transfer reactions, nucleophilic substitution reactions, and association reactions plus one unimolecular isomerization) plus four H-transfer reactions in which a hydrogen atom is abstracted by the methyl or hydroperoxyl radical from the two different positions in methanol. The data in TSG48 include data for four reactions that have previously been treated at a very high level in the literature. These data are used to test and validate methods that are affordable for the entire test suite, and the most accurate of these methods is found to be the multilevel BMC-CCSD method. The data that constitute the TSG48 database are therefore taken to consist of these very high level calculations for the four reactions where they are available and BMC-CCSD calculations for the other 12 reactions. The TSG48 database is used to assess the performance of the eight Minnesota density functionals from the M05-M08 families and 26 other high-performance and popular density functionals for locating transition state geometries. For comparison, the MP2 and QCISD wave function methods have also been tested for transition state geometries. The MC3BB and MC3MPW doubly hybrid functionals and the M08-HX and M06-2X hybrid meta-GGAs are found to have the best performance of all of the density functionals tested. M08-HX is the most highly recommended functional due to the excellent performance for all five subsets of TSG48, as well as having a lower cost when compared to doubly hybrid functionals. The mean absolute errors in transition state internuclear distances associated with breaking and forming bonds as calculated by the B2PLYP, MP2, and B3LYP methods are respectively about 2, 3, and 5 times larger than those calculated by MC3BB and M08-HX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1676
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2011


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