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J Chem Theory Comput. 2015 Jan 13;11(1):360-71. doi: 10.1021/ct5008263. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

Accurate, precise, and efficient theoretical methods to calculate anion-π interaction energies in model structures.

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Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Budapest University of Technology and Economics , H-1521 Budapest, Hungary.
Department of Physics, Temple University , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, United States.


A correct description of the anion-π interaction is essential for the design of selective anion receptors and channels and important for advances in the field of supramolecular chemistry. However, it is challenging to do accurate, precise, and efficient calculations of this interaction, which are lacking in the literature. In this article, by testing sets of 20 binary anion-π complexes of fluoride, chloride, bromide, nitrate, or carbonate ions with hexafluorobenzene, 1,3,5-trifluorobenzene, 2,4,6-trifluoro-1,3,5-triazine, or 1,3,5-triazine and 30 ternary π-anion-π' sandwich complexes composed from the same monomers, we suggest domain-based local-pair natural orbital coupled cluster energies extrapolated to the complete basis-set limit as reference values. We give a detailed explanation of the origin of anion-π interactions, using the permanent quadrupole moments, static dipole polarizabilities, and electrostatic potential maps. We use symmetry-adapted perturbation theory (SAPT) to calculate the components of the anion-π interaction energies. We examine the performance of the direct random phase approximation (dRPA), the second-order screened exchange (SOSEX), local-pair natural-orbital (LPNO) coupled electron pair approximation (CEPA), and several dispersion-corrected density functionals (including generalized gradient approximation (GGA), meta-GGA, and double hybrid density functional). The LPNO-CEPA/1 results show the best agreement with the reference results. The dRPA method is only slightly less accurate and precise than the LPNO-CEPA/1, but it is considerably more efficient (6-17 times faster) for the binary complexes studied in this paper. For 30 ternary π-anion-π' sandwich complexes, we give dRPA interaction energies as reference values. The double hybrid functionals are much more efficient but less accurate and precise than dRPA. The dispersion-corrected double hybrid PWPB95-D3(BJ) and B2PLYP-D3(BJ) functionals perform better than the GGA and meta-GGA functionals for the present test set.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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