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Approaching the basis set limit for DFT calculations using an environment-adapted minimal basis with perturbation theory: Formulation, proof of concept, and a pilot implementation.

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Recently developed density functionals have good accuracy for both thermochemistry (TC) and non-covalent interactions (NC) if very large atomic orbital basis sets are used. To approach the basis set limit with potentially lower computational cost, a new self-consistent field (SCF) scheme is presented that employs minimal adaptive basis (MAB) functions. The MAB functions are optimized on each atomic site by minimizing a surrogate function. High accuracy is obtained by applying a perturbative correction (PC) to the MAB calculation, similar to dual basis approaches. Compared to exact SCF results, using this MAB-SCF (PC) approach with the same large target basis set produces <0.15 kcal/mol root-mean-square deviations for most of the tested TC datasets, and <0.1 kcal/mol for most of the NC datasets. The performance of density functionals near the basis set limit can be even better reproduced. With further improvement to its implementation, MAB-SCF (PC) is a promising lower-cost substitute for conventional large-basis calculations as a method to approach the basis set limit of modern density functionals.

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