A Mountaineering Strategy to Excited States: Highly-Accurate Energies and Benchmarks for Medium Size Molecules

Following our previous work focussing on compounds containing up to 3 non-hydrogen atoms [J. Chem. Theory Comput. 14 (2018) 4360–4379], we present here highly-accurate vertical transition energies obtained for 27 molecules encompassing 4, 5, and 6 non-hydrogen atoms: acetone, acrolein, benzene, butadiene, cyanoacetylene, cyanoformaldehyde, cyanogen, cyclopentadiene, cyclopropenone, cyclopropenethione, diacetylene, furan, glyoxal, imidazole, isobutene, methylenecyclopropene, propynal, pyrazine, pyridazine, pyridine, pyrimidine, pyrrole, tetrazine, thioacetone, thiophene, thiopropynal, and triazine. To obtain these energies, we use equation-of-motion coupled cluster theory up to the highest technically possible excitation order for these systems (CC3, EOM-CCSDT, and EOM-CCSDTQ), selected configuration interaction (SCI) calculations (with tens of millions of determinants in the reference space), as well as the multiconfigurational 𝑛-electron valence state perturbation theory (NEVPT2) method. All these approaches are applied in combination with diffuse-containing atomic basis sets. For all transitions, we report at least CC3/aug-cc-pVQZ vertical excitation energies as well as CC3/aug-cc-pVTZ oscillator strengths for each dipole-allowed transition. We show that CC3 almost systematically delivers transition energies in agreement with higher-level methods with a typical deviation of ±0.04 eV, except for transitions with a dominant double excitation character where the error is much larger. The present contribution gathers a large, diverse and accurate set of more than 200 highly-accurate transition energies for states of various natures (valence, Rydberg, singlet, triplet, 𝑛 → 𝜋★, 𝜋 → 𝜋★, . . . ). We use this series of theoretical best estimates to benchmark a series of popular methods for excited state calculations: CIS(D), ADC(2), CC2, STEOM-CCSD, EOM-CCSD, CCSDR(3), CCSDT-3, CC3, as well as NEVPT2. The results of these benchmarks are compared to the available literature data.