r2SCAN-3c: An Efficient “Swiss Army Knife” Composite Electronic-Structure Method

15 December 2020, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The recently proposed second revision of the SCAN meta-GGA density-functional approximation (DFA) {Furness et al., J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2020, 11, 8208-8215, termed r2SCAN} is used to construct an efficient composite electronic-structure method termed r2SCAN-3c, expanding the "3c'' series (hybrid: HSE/PBEh-3c, GGA: B97-3c, HF: HF-3c) to themGGA level. To this end, the unaltered r2SCAN functional is combined with a tailor-made
triple-zeta Gaussian AO-basis as well as with refitted D4 and gCP corrections for London-dispersion and basis-set superposition error. The performance of the new method is evaluated for the GMTKN55 thermochemical database covering large parts of chemical space with about 1500
data points, as well as additional benchmarks for noncovalent interactions, organometallic reactions, lattice energies of organic molecules and ices, as well as for the adsorption on polar salt and non-polar coinage-metal surfaces. These comprehensive tests reveal a spectacular performance and robustness of r2SCAN-3c for reaction energies and noncovalent interactions in molecular and periodic systems, as well as outstanding conformational energies, and consistent structures. At just one tenth of the cost, r2SCAN-3c provides one of the best results of all semi-local DFT/QZ methods ever tested for the GMTKN55 benchmark database. Specifically for reaction and conformational energies as well as for noncovalent interactions, the new method outperforms hybrid-DFT/QZ approaches, compared to which the computational savings are even larger (factor 100-1000).
In relation to other "3c'' methods, r2SCAN-3c by far surpasses the accuracy of its predecessor B97-3c at only about twice the cost. The perhaps most relevant remaining systematic deviation of r2SCAN-3c is due to self-interaction-error, owing to its mGGA nature. However, SIE is notably reduced compared to other (m)GGAs, as is demonstrated for several examples. After all, this remarkably efficient and robust method is chosen as our new group default, replacing previous low-level DFT and partially even expensive high-level methods in most standard applications for systems with up to several hundreds of atoms.


density functional theory
meta generalized gradient approximation
noncovalent interactions


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