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Assessing electronic structure approaches for gas-ligand interactions in metal-organic frameworks: the CO2-benzene complex.

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Adsorption of gas molecules in metal-organic frameworks is governed by many factors, the most dominant of which are the interaction of the gas with open metal sites, and the interaction of the gas with the ligands. Herein, we examine the latter class of interaction in the context of CO2 binding to benzene. We begin by clarifying the geometry of the CO2-benzene complex. We then generate a benchmark binding curve using a coupled-cluster approach with single, double, and perturbative triple excitations [CCSD(T)] at the complete basis set (CBS) limit. Against this ΔCCSD(T)/CBS standard, we evaluate a plethora of electronic structure approximations: Hartree-Fock, second-order Møller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) with the resolution-of-the-identity approximation, attenuated MP2, and a number of density functionals with and without different empirical and nonempirical van der Waals corrections. We find that finite-basis MP2 significantly overbinds the complex. On the other hand, even the simplest empirical correction to standard density functionals is sufficient to bring the binding energies to well within 1 kJ/mol of the benchmark, corresponding to an error of less than 10%; PBE-D in particular performs well. Methods that explicitly include nonlocal correlation kernels, such as VV10, vdW-DF2, and ωB97X-V, perform with similar accuracy for this system, as do ωB97X and M06-L.

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