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J Phys Chem A. 2012 Jun 28;116(25):6750-8. doi: 10.1021/jp302936h. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

What is the best DFT functional for vibronic calculations? A comparison of the calculated vibronic structure of the S1-S0 transition of phenylacetylene with cavity ringdown band intensities.

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  • 1Chemistry Department, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA.


The sensitivity of vibronic calculations to electronic structure methods and basis sets is explored and compared to accurate relative intensities of the vibrational bands of phenylacetylene in the S(1)(A(1)B(2)) ← S(0)(X(1)A(1)) transition. To provide a better measure of vibrational band intensities, the spectrum was recorded by cavity ringdown absorption spectroscopy up to energies of 2000 cm(-1) above the band origin in a slit jet sample. The sample rotational temperature was estimated to be about 30 K, but the vibrational temperature was higher, permitting the assignment of many vibrational hot bands. The vibronic structure of the electronic transition was simulated using a combination of time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) electronic structure codes, Franck-Condon integral calculations, and a second-order vibronic model developed previously [Johnson, P. M.; Xu, H. F.; Sears, T. J. J. Chem. Phys. 2006, 125, 164331]. The density functional theory (DFT) functionals B3LYP, CAM-B3LYP, and LC-BLYP were explored. The long-range-corrected functionals, CAM-B3LYP and LC-BLYP, produced better values for the equilibrium geometry transition moment, but overemphasized the vibronic coupling for some normal modes, while B3LYP provided better-balanced vibronic coupling but a poor equilibrium transition moment. Enlarging the basis set made very little difference. The cavity ringdown measurements show that earlier intensities derived from resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) spectra have relative intensity errors.

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