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J Chem Phys. 2008 Jan 14;128(2):024107. doi: 10.1063/1.2817600.

Symmetry breaking in benzene and larger aromatic molecules within generalized valence bond coupled cluster methods.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


The origin of symmetry breaking (SB) in benzene in generalized valence bond methods is investigated within a coupled cluster formalism that correlates all valence electrons. Retention of a limited number of pair correlation amplitudes (as in the perfect- and imperfect-pairing models) that incompletely describes interpair correlations leads to symmetry breaking as the orbitals and amplitudes are optimized. Local correlation models that are exact for one, two, and three interacting pairs at the doubles excitation level are compared against the exact pair correlation treatment, which correlates four interacting pairs at once in the connected double substitution operator. For simplicity, this comparison is performed with a second-order model of electron correlation, which is reasonably faithful to the infinite-order result. The significant SB known for the one-pair model (perfect pairing) is not eliminated at the two-pair level, but is virtually eliminated at the three-pair level. Therefore, a tractable hybrid model is proposed, which combines three-pair correlations at the second-order level and infinite-order treatment for the strong imperfect-pairing correlations involving one and two-pair correlations. This model greatly reduces SB in benzene and larger delocalized pi systems such as naphthalene and the phenalenyl cation and anion. The resulting optimized orbitals are localized in the sigma space but exhibit significant delocalization in the pi space. This means that correlation effects associated with different resonance structures are treated in a more balanced way than if the pi orbitals localize, leading to reduced SB.

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