Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Extension of Natural Reaction Orbital Approach to Multiconfigurational Wavefunctions



Recently, we proposed a new orbital analysis method, natural reaction orbital (NRO), which automatically extracts orbital pairs that characterize electron transfer in reaction processes by singular value decomposition (SVD) of the first-order orbital response matrix to the nuclear coordinate displacements (Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 24, 3532 (2022)). NRO analysis along the intrinsic reaction coordinate (IRC) for several typical chemical reactions demonstrated that electron transfer occurs mainly in the vicinity of transition states and in regions where the energy profile along the IRC shows shoulder features, allowing the reaction mechanism to be explained in terms of electron motion based on orbital pairs that represent electron transfer. However, its application has been limited to single configuration theories such as Hartree-Fock theory and density functional theory (DFT). In this work, the concept of NRO is extended to multiconfigurational wavefunctions and formulated as the multiconfiguration NRO (MC-NRO). The MC-NRO method is applicable to various types of electronic structure theories, including multiconfigurational theory and linear response theory, and is expected to be a practical tool for extracting the qualitative essence of a broad range of chemical reactions, including covalent bond dissociation and chemical reactions in electronically excited states. In this paper, we calculate the IRC for five basic chemical reaction processes at the level of the complete active space self-consistent field (CASSCF) theory and discuss the electron transfer by performing MC-NRO analysis along each IRC. Finally, issues and future prospects of the MC-NRO method are discussed.


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